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Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (SACD)

These four albums represent a category that is likely to grow exponentially in the years to come: SACD transfers of jazz recordings from the classic canon. All four are products of the Analogue Productions, a division of the audiophile mini-empire Acoustic Sounds. All four were originally recorded on one of the legendary jazz labels now owned by Fantasy, and all were mastered from the original analog tapes by Doug Sax, using third generation analog-to-DSD converters by Ed Meitner/EMM Labs.

Obviously the full benefits of SACD technology are revealed on new direct-to-DSD recordings, or on high quality analog or PCM recordings remastered to DSD. But another important purpose for SACD-the purpose that inspired Sony to create the format in the first place-is to serve as the optimal digital storage system into which priceless original analog master tapes can be transferred before they further deteriorate. (Remember that Sony, through corporate acquisition, one day found itself responsible for, among other treasures, the Columbia archives.)

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