David Elias Begins Work On New Surround Sound SACD [HFR]

Acoustic guitarist and singer David Elias has begun work on a new native Direct Stream Digital (DSD) Surround Sound SACD that is slated for release this Fall. High Fidelity Review readers will remember that Elias’ inital direct to DSD, Super Audio CD release last year won wide spread acclaim as one of last year’s best SACD releases. It was also unique in that Elias was one of the first independent artists to release an album on the SACD format and use it to highlight his music. For his work, Elias was nominated for a Horizon Award in last year’s Surround Music Awards program.

Recording the Next SACD
According to David Elias, the new album will feature many of the musicians that performed on his first Super Audio CD entitled The Window (Sketti Sandwich SSP 3162). Elias tells me that “the sessions were recorded live to DSD at Slipperworld Studios in La Honda, CA by Winston Furlow. The new tracks feature mandolin/bouzouki, dobro/weissenborn, guitar /vocal, acoustic bass and drums in the 8-track recorder as well as the room itself. This studio is much smaller than the previous one and the ambient recordings should reflect that. I think we have some very nice takes of some of the new songs. We did a number of takes on songs with just an acoustic trio (guitar/vocal, bass, mandolin) and these will be worked further into the final mixes (stereo and surround).”

A Sneak Preview of 2 Songs on the Web
Fans of David Elias and the independent musicians on the web know that they often post partial, or even full clips, of their songs on the web to let people preview their music before buying. Keeping and extending that tradition, Elias has posted 2 “rough mixes” of the songs from the upcoming Surround Sound SACD on the Besonic.Com web site at http://www.besonic.com/

Elias sent out a newsletter to his fans today that announces the availability of the clips on the web. In it he tells them “You can hear the work in progress which means that these songs are not nearly finished yet! The basic tracks of guitar/vocal, bass, drums have been recorded. A rough mix is now online to hear what you might call the outline of the song-to-be.

The quality of the recording however is 100% there which you should hear, even through the series of transfer and downsampling that have taken place from the original DSD recording to get it to the web at this point include:

  • Analog transfer from DSD recorder to 24-bit Alesis HD24 recorder
  • Digital mix from Alesis HD24 to Alesis Masterlink 9600
  • Redbook CD burned on Alesis Masterlink 9600
  • 44.1 WAV file converted to MP3 using AudioGrabber (LAME encoder)
  • CD converted to 128K (Hi-Fi on BeSonic) and 32K (Lo-Fi on BeSonic)

    Even after all those processes of “un-doing” the hi-res recording, I think the quality of DSD is still remarkably noticeable and different from other types of recordings. The final MP3’s and certainly the final SACD are sure to sound even better than this! You can even compare these new tracks to the cuts from ‘The Window’ that are online on the same web page.”

    The songs on the web are “If I Had My Way” and “Morning Light/Western Town”. If you’re a fan of acoustic music, you’ll want to dial by and have a listen. From these two samples, it sounds like the new Elias SACD will be another one to nab when it is released.

    Picking Up The Window SACD
    While you wait for the new Surround Sound SACD to arrive, I’d suggest having a listen to the cuts that are on the web from The Window on the BeSonic.com and CDBaby.com web sites. If they convince you to go further, you can buy Elias’ first SACD effort on the CDBaby.Com web site as well as the Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc and Music Direct web sites.