• 11-28-2008, 02:23 PM
    Telarc's future - is it possible we may never see them again?
    Several years back, Concord Music bought Telarc. Like many other acquisitions, heads had to roll, and Concord decided the first to go was perhaps the most important in Telarc's lineup: Jack Renner, then president, chief recording engineer and founder of the company. Jack speaks well of Concord Music, but I detected a hint of dissatisfaction when he discussed his "retirement." He's very happy now pursuing his other passion - photography - but I sense he'd still like to be involved with recording music.

    Since the acquisition, the recorded music industry has continued to nosedive, with more and more digital downloads becoming the major source for many, and the sale of CD's and SACD's continuing to plummet. Telarc has always enthusiastically endorsed the SACD as "the best thing out there," and had priced its SACD's one to three dollars higher than the same material on CD.

    All that has changed just recently. Logging onto "telarc.com" takes you directly to a Concordmusic.com page, featuring telarc products. Even my old Telarc password is no longer of any use in buying discs.

    One initially positive change, but, I feel, a sign of imminent disappearance of the brand, is that all Telac SACD's are now priced the same as their CD equivalents: $13.95, which is fully $6.00 less than the same items were only a month ago. Additionally, oder Telarc CD's can be had for as little as $8.00!

    All of this may initially seem to just be a terrific bargain, but I sense an underlying current on the part of the "top brass" at Concord Music to eventually dump the sales of Telarc CD's and SACD's, and these drastically reduced prices would seem to indicate that's the direction the company may be headed.

    I can only hope this isn't so. While it's really terrific to be able to buy some of the finest sounding recordings made anywhere for so little, I hope that this is not a harbinger of bad things to come. time alone will tell.
  • 11-28-2008, 02:46 PM
    I hope your premonitions don't materialize, em, but with current interest apparently focusing on portability and access, folks at Telarc are gonna have to work on very innovative ways of attracting customers. Like you, I rue the eventual demise of handheld music*, and do not look forward to sources that are compressed to obscenely unlistenable limits or priiced so far out of reach that willing and interested persons will have to take out second and third mortages to afford them. Telarc was certainly among an elite list of companies that were the Vangard of modern, digital tech and they will be sorely missed. I still keep quite a few of their discs, including their Carmina Burana which is very, very good....

    *Handheld music: My term for tangible (vs digital, mp3, e.g., media)
  • 11-29-2008, 05:19 AM

    Originally Posted by Auricauricle
    their Carmina Burana which is very, very good....

    Telarc's initial release of Carmina Burana was on LP - 2 LP's in fact, so as not to compress the record's grooves too much, and to allow the dynamics of the music to play out better. The CD of that recording (with Robert Shaw conducting) actually doesn't sound as good as the LP, largely due to the fact that the original masters were done on the Soundstream digital tape recorder which samples at a rate of 50K/sec that had to be "down-converted" to the 44.1K rate of CD's. Many Soundstream masters, while they sound pretty good, didn't convert well to CD

    It's available on a DSD-remastered SACD, and if the quality of other such remastered Soundstreram discs is any judge, I'm sure it's outstanding. Still, at least in my opinion, and apparently that of The Absolute Sound, the DSD mastered SACD of Carmina Burana, conducted by Donald Runnicles is the best I've ever heard. And, since you can get it now from Telarc/Concord Music for only $13.98, it's a steal!
  • 11-29-2008, 11:37 AM
    Thanks for the tip....

    There may be some bias in my praises of the Telarc disc: while my electronics are not by any stretch "state of the art" or of the same stature of those enjoyed by my more established colleagues here, I can certainly aver, performance-wise, that the vocals and musical performances are top rate.

    Tell me: Is this the allure of so-called "up-converting" players I have seen from time to time: the capacity to bring discs up to thier previously recorded sample rate? At this time 2-channel SACD players are out of reach; up-converting players are available and they are affordable. Should I make the plunge now or wait until my financial situation improves?
  • 11-30-2008, 04:55 AM
    The only up-converting type of players I've ever seen are DVD players - not CD players, though, of course, I could be mistaken. While I"m certainly no expert, CD playback, I believe - regardless of the recording method - is 44.1K/sec period. External DAC's almost always improve the sound of a redbook CD player, and are usually a good investment, but I don't believe they change the sampling rate.

    From what I've been able to ascertain, the only up-converting method to bring CD playback up to the standards of its original recording method is the remastering of Soundstream recordings by Telarc, as the Soundstream sampling rate (50K/sec) doesn't easily transfer down to 44.1K/sec without, using Telarc's own terms, "sonic artifacts." The DSD recording method easily captures all of that which was on the original Soundstream master recordings.
  • 11-30-2008, 12:12 PM
    ...And adding confusion to my consternation is the recent spate of posts extolling Blue Ray. Ohhhhh, the headache ahm gettin'!