Super Artists on Super Audio Volume 4 from Channel Classics [HFR]

Super Artists on Super Audio, Volume 4 from Channel Classics Records is the latest in the label’s Super Audio CD sampler series. Channel Classics is based in the Netherlands and was one of the first European labels to market original Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recordings on Surround Sound Super Audio CD discs.

In recent years, they have been a staunch supporter of the format – releasing almost all of their front line catalog discs exclusively as Hybrid Layer, Single Inventory Surround Sound SACDs. The result has been a strong collection of Super Audio CDs from the label which is now approaching 70 titles on their main label and several more on their new Channel of China label.

Channel Classics Comments on Volume 4 and Super Audio CD
Channel Classics talks about its recording philsophy noting that “A new sampler means looking back to those recordings that have been issued since our last compliation. Every track represents a brief “Sample”, not only of the technical side of SACD, but also of the artists’ musical interpretations.

Channel Classics has been recording only the Super Audio CD multichannel format for three years now. Though there is a long road ahead before this format becomes standard, there is such an improvement in sound that the commitment to continue with SACD is definite. We believe that ofering the highest quality of sound recordings to the public is a logical answer to the changing circumstances in the recording industry. For whatever medium the public uses in the future, at least the original recording will be of the highest quality in stereo and multichannel.

Especially in 5 channels, the sound and performances are so enhanced that there is no way back to a normal stereo recording. Channel Classics does not utilize the 6th channel which is generally used for the subwoofer (ultra low frequencies). This is a superficially produced channel used for DVD Videos (films) and does not fit into our philosophy of naturally produced sound.”

Super Artists on Super Audio, Volume 4
Various Artists
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(Channel Classics CCS SA SEL 4606)
This new Surround Sound SACD features 17 selections from 13 different composers and shows the breadth of recent releases in the Channel Classics Super Audio CD catalog. Also noteworthy in this edition of the Channel Classics Sampler series, several selections are taken from the SACD Surround Sound recordings made by Channel of China, the company’s relatively new division which features Surround Sound SACDs performed by artists in China.

Included in the collection is a 24 page booklet that has a description of each of the 17 selections on the Super Audio CD, a photo of the original SACD that it was taken from and reviews on each album. Recordings on the album were made with B&K and Schoeps microphones, EMM Labs Meitner Design DSD Converters, Merging Technologies Pyramix DSD Editing Workstations, B&W Monitor Speakers, Van Medevoort Amps, Van Den Hul Cables and a mixing board custom made by Rens Heijnis. The Surround Sound SACD features 5.0 Surround Sound and was made in Germany by Sonopress.

Listening to the SACD Surround Sound tracks of this disc is a treat. The recordings do a fine job of capturing the performances which feature the music of the Chinese erhu (track 5), the harpsichord (track 7), the oboe (track 10) and a chorale performance (track 12). And there is more – including a dramatic performance by a full symphony orchestra from China in their Western Recording Debut (track 14). As with the prior Channel Classics SACD samplers, there’s a wide variety of Classical and Classical Crossover music here. My only quibble is that some of the tracks seem to end much too quickly – but then again that’s the point of an SACD Sampler, to tempt you to listen and then buy the full albums. Once again, I think Channel Classics has tempted us with a tasty peek of their recent SACD releases.

Album Tracks
1. Excerpts from String Quartet opus 135 in F major
2. Album de Chвteau: Prйlude Semipastorale
3. Sonata in D major KV 7 Allegro molto
4. Excerpts from Allegro energico, ma non troppo
5. Idyllic Tune
6. A Groovy Kind of Love
7. Quator no. 5 in A major: Pas Vite
8. High Spring and Pure Snow
9. Excerpts from Premiиre Leзon de
10. Quartet in F KV 370: Adagio
11. An Idle Saint Remembers
12. Ad pedes: Ecce super montes
13. John Dowland: Forlorn Hope Fancy
14. Soliloquy at Cold Mountain Temple,
15. Bolero Tartare: Un Espoir
16. Sonata in Eb, KV 380 Rondeau: Allegro
17. Excerpts from Allegro maestoso

As with past editions of the Channel Classics sampler series, Volume 4 sells for a very reasonable list price of $11.98. It is now available in music stores in the U.S., Europe and worldwide. It is also available on the Channel Classics web site and a variety of web sites including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Harmonia Mundi, Music Direct, Amazon.Com, CD Universe and (Germany).