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Jeff Carney

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2012 "Deluxe Edition" Review, 5 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Audio CD)
Big disappointment, I'm sad to say. I don't blame Steven Wilson so much as I blame his method. This remix has excellent tonality, doesn't sound EQd or compressed or anything, but it is DEAD. The instruments sound dry, sterile and uninvolving. The reverb ideas used on the original stereo master mix are all missing. I just cannot imagine anyone would think this could ever be compared to Eddie Offord's stereo mix. The ambience, the life, the *feel* of the album ... it is just not there.

The surround mix suffers the same clincial, sterile sound, but things are obviously spread around so it isn't quite as obvious.

The new tracks added to replace "The Three Fates" and "Tank" as a result of the missing multitracks are simply inadequate. Side two has become a big mess. Basically you get "Promenade," some of Three Fates (where they had multis), jamming with stuff that later became part of "Tarkus," and a drum solo. The entire feel of side two is like a toally different album. I can accept this but I think in fairness it can be stated that the new "Side 2" is an inferior album unworthy of any real comparison to the innovative, fascinating original. "Lucky Man" concludes, of course. It sounds really clean in terms of the guitar parts being crystal clear, but again, the feel is just all wrong to my ears.

This release is confirmation for me that putting separate tracks into a digital workstation and remixing an album is right up there with using a DX-7 to replicate a moog. It can be done, but there is a missing organic quality that is blatantly obvious. Not my cup of tea.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2014 10:36 PM GMT

Never Say Die! [VINYL]
Never Say Die! [VINYL]
Price: £19.30

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 31 May 2011
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This review is from: Never Say Die! [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Fantastic vinyl reissue with phenomenal sound quality. This is not the same as the 2009 remastered CD that Sanctuary/Universal issued. That was a compressed piece of junk, but this is simply astonishing!

Trust me, this may have been cut from digital files, but it compares very well with the original UK Vertigo vinyl. It comes with a cool gatefold cover with liner notes and photos. And the original inner is reproduced. Get this!

Master Of Reality [VINYL]
Master Of Reality [VINYL]

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Get The Deluxe CD - Not This Vinyl, 11 May 2011
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This review is from: Master Of Reality [VINYL] (Vinyl)
One would think this 2009 Deluxe Edition vinyl would probably match or sound very close to the Deluxe Edition CD.

Such is not the case.

This thing has really (and I mean *really*) been hammered with compression and the bass has been goosed to ridiculous extremes. The Deluxe Edition CD is fantastic and sounds almost exactly like the original UK Vertigo vinyl in terms of its tonality and punch. But, presumably, whoever cut this vinyl edition ("Neil Massiva"? in deadwax) went nuts with the bass and compression. The drums aren't punchy and totally lack slam. It's a complete mess. Buy the Deluxe Edition CD instead. Andy Pearce absolutely nailed the mastering on that and it smokes this nonsense.

Brain Salad Surgery
Brain Salad Surgery

58 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ELP - BSS (Deluxe Edition) SACD, 20 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
5 Stars for Brain Salad Surgery, of course. 1 Star for this remastering on the Deluxe Edition (SACD).

The midrange on this Deluxe Edition has been jacked up with EQ and it is compressed enough so that Lake's vocals now grate a bit, but most difficult to understand is how this sound was considered appropriate for Palmer's drums. When his first beat kicks in with hi-hat in tow around 1:30 into "Jerusalem," I think some folks will probably say to themselves: "You've got to be kidding." The hi-hat was already a rough listen on the Victory but here it has been turned into a metallic pinch. I don't personally think that these EQ moves were a success. The added compression is also really annoying. The whole signal sort of "pumps" as a result. Surely some will rave about more "detail" and "clarity," but in actual A/B comparisons with the old Victory CD, I found this to be utterly "tinny" with way too much added midrange EQ. And I already found the Victory a bit too bright. I still think that despite what I suspect were less than perfect source tapes, the original Atlantic CD mastered by Barry Diament is the best digital version of this album. Some might find it a bit "dull," but in comparison to what? I don't know, I find my ears tolerate 40 minutes of that sound just fine. Adding treble to recordings during remastering seems common in the digital realm, but sometimes over the course of an entire album this added treble can really become annoying. I wonder if people would find the original Atlantic CD "dull" if they cleaned their ears out with some warm sounding vinyl for a few days?

Let us keep in mind that the Victory remastering in 1993 by Joseph Palmaccio was apparently the first time this entire album had been remastered from master tapes. This same mastering was then used by Rhino (ignore the new mastering credit inside, it's just a mistake). Castle also used this mastering after first accidentally issuing a downmix from the Rhino DVD-A. Hence, you have the Victory CD, the Rhino and "corrected" Castle editions all featuring the same mastering by Mr. Palmaccio. The Japanese releases on JVC are not worth discussion (too compressed) other than the fact that they had snazzy packaging. The album was released on CD in Germany on Ariola/Manticore, but while some of the Manticore CDs are hunted by audiophiles (especially the first album as well as Tarkus, and to a certain extent Trilogy -- all of which I agree sound excellent), I didn't find the Manticore CD of BSS to be all that great. Too much treble. Incidentally, I suspect that all of the Japanese mini lp CDs by JVC originate from the Manticore/Ariola sources anyway, if not just the CDs themselves. If you are curious about different digital versions of the ELP catalog, I recommend trying to find those for comparison. The Japanese minis were (sonically) a complete joke and offer nothing of value to the dynamics or tonality of these albums.

But back to this new SACD: The no-noise is thankfully subtle, and will likely not be evident to any but the most obsessive audiophile, but some was surely applied. Consider that the hiss level between this and the Victory are very similar and yet this is compressed and had some added midrange (things that would increase hiss), so you figure it out. I can't stand the stuff and wish there was more reverence for the breath inherent in analog tape amongst many modern mastering engineers, because the sound that occurs when perfectly natural tape hiss is removed via computer is not an improvement to my ears, in fact, it is a major downgrade ... but that's another story.

The much bigger issue at hand will simply be if one thinks the Victory mastering needed to be even brighter and have compression added. If so, you'll like this sound. I found the new release vastly inferior to the Victory, and I still prefer Barry Diament's Atlantic CD mastering for the smoothest sound (particularly on Palmer's cymbals) of them all.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2010 12:30 AM BST

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