BMG is trying a lot harder with Elvis than they have done in the past. I'm not satisfied (it's impossible to satisfy anybody!) - all in all we cannot always complain. But, I do have a big wish for BMG: Serve us with high quality – use the modern technology such as HDCD, DAV-Audio and SACD! (Abbreviations being explained below)
We all buy the same songs on every new compilation (exceptions are great box sets with alternates like "Today, Tomorrow And Forever", "Close Up"...!). I appreciate the new DSD technique, but that's not enough! The CD is an old standard from 1981 with just 16bit and 44,1KHz. Due to data compression the dynamic of the sound cannot compete with the good old analog recordings on vinyl. By the way, speaking about vinyl, it's great that some of the new releases are available on vinyl, too! But, I'm still missing the 70’s box set “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” on vinyl!
Apart from the CD there are better digital techniques available. With more digital information than the 16bit/44,1 KHz from the CD, you come nearer to get the body, depth and emotion of the original performance - not a flat, digital imitation. The master tapes can now be remastered with 24bit and 192 KHz, but remastering alone is almost no win in sound quality, if it's just stored on CD. The right media for this is DVD-AUDIO or SACD, at least HDCD. Players - even multi-format players - are affordable meanwhile.
In 2002 BMG had decided to support DVD-Audio and released the great "Elv1s 30#1 Hits" in this format. Since the announcement to merge with Sony Music the big music companies work together closer. So, the future high quality disc format for Elvis recordings may be the SACD forced by Sony and Philips.
No matter how it will come, the new "2nd To None" album should be released on DVD -Audio and/or SACD as soon as possible. In Asia (mainly China) BMG and also Universal Music have released Elvis two compilations on HDCDs at last, which can be played on every CD or DVD player. (Using a player with HDCD decoder you can hear the bigger dynamic of 20bits.) What is with the rest of the world?
I do not want to buy expensive CDs with just fair quality and Copy Control which makes troubles on several DVD-Players and Car Systems (like the new "Christmas Peace" does on my Toshiba DVD-Audio player). The music industry complains about less sales since Internet, MP3, CD-/DVD-burning … In my opinion MP3, WMA, AAC and other compressed formats are just possibilities for the Internet and computers. For good HiFi Stereo or Digital Audio/Video multi-channel systems all these formats including the regular CD is too weak nowadays. To stay compatible with CD-Players, record companies could use the "DVD-Plus" / "Dual-Disc" or Hybrid-SACD which can be played on all CD/DVD players. Another great feature that is used much too rare is "CD-/DVD-TEXT". Many players can show the title of the tracks and further information while playing.
That's service to the customer and not the copy controls. Good quality, comfortable and compatible technology is available, so use it BMG! But that is just my opinion.
CD = Compact Disc – exact term is CD-DA = Compact Disc Digital Audio. Sound encoded with 16bit and 44,1KHz.
Founded by Philips in the 70s, merger with Sony in 1979, world standard since 1981, first players 1982/1983.
DVD-Audio – a DVD (Digital Versatile Disk) with much better sound and higher storage capacity. Data is stored with 24bit and 96 or 192 KHz. Capable of multi-channel sound (5.1).
Can be played on DVD-players only. If the DVD player has no DVD-Audio decoder you here a down-mix with the regular 16bit/44,1KHz. Forced by the DVD-forum (Matsushita, Panasonic, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, JVC…), since 1996
DVD-Plus or DUAL-DISC – a disc with two sides – one side is a DVD-Audio, the other one a CD.
SACD – Super Audio CD – a CD with much better sound.
24bit / more than 100KHz. Capable of multi-channel sound (5.1). Can be played on every CD or DVD-players. If the player has no SACD decoder you here a down-mix with the regular 16bit/44,1KHz. Forced by Sony and Philips, launched in 1999
Hybrid SACD – a CD with 2 layers – one contains the high resolution, the other the regular one.
HDCD = High Definition Compatible Digital –
Model 1 - 20bit and 44,1KHz
Model 2 - 24bit and up to 192KHz
2-channel stereo, no multi-channel sound. Can be played on every CD or DVD-players. If the player has no HDCD decoder you here the regular 16bit/44,1KHz. Founded in 1996 by Pacific Microsonics, Inc. (PMI). In September 2000, Microsoft Corporation acquired PMI. Microsoft continues to incorporate PMI's pioneering technology into offerings for the PC.
DSD = Direct Stream Digital - audio recording technique, no disc format.
CD-TEXT – Additional information to the single tracks which can be displayed when the player supports this format. Sony is the founder of this technique. Maybe, we'll get Elvis CDs with CD-TEXT, when BMG and SONY will have been allowed to merge.