Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Learn More Amazon Pantry Food & Drink Beauty Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for John Smith > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by John Smith
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,551
Helpful Votes: 918

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
John Smith (UK)

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Genesis: Hybrid SACD + DVD
Genesis: Hybrid SACD + DVD

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great music - horrible sound - STEREO MIX REVIEW ONLY, 8 Oct. 2007
For a review of the fantastic music contained in this album, refer to the original release.

As for the sound of this remix-remaster: it really is shockingly bad. It sounds so compressed as to have had the life squashed out of it. All the dynamic movement is gone from the original. It is also very harsh on the ears over extended listening, such is the relentless noise of the compressed sound. Collins's drums - the snare in particular - have a flat, harsh 2-dimensional sound, rather than the previously rich tones.

Get the original whilst you still can. It isn't perfect and does have a bit of that brittle cold quality associated with very early digital recordings - but it is way preferable to this new mix, which should be avoided.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2010 7:58 PM GMT

Genesis: Chapter And Verse
Genesis: Chapter And Verse
by Tony Banks
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice looking re-telling of less than we already knew, 7 Oct. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When I first feasted my eyes on this big heavy book, and rifled through the pages of glossy pictures, my first impression was 'Wow, bargain!' (I paid double that for the Beatles one a few years ago).

But I read 'Chapter & Verse' from cover to cover in a couple of days, and found it to be sorely lacking. I think I rushed through it so quickly just so I could get it out of the way, as I did find it to be terribly dull much of the time, such is the lack of new revelations (parden the pun) or personal insights, other than what we already knew.

Possibly part of the problem is that the members are famously ultra polite and diplomatic, and would never 'spill any dirt' or even say anything particularly controversial about another member.

Much better is 'Genesis - A Biography' by Dave Bowler & Bryan Dray, which is a thoroughly well researched and gripping book, with loads of quotes from band members past and present. 'Chapter & Verse', on the other hand, is like reading just the quotes, with the 'real story' missing.

Real fans, like me, will buy this anyway. My advice: just don't get too excited about what you are about to get.

Genesis, 1983 - 1998 [Hybrid SACD + DVD]
Genesis, 1983 - 1998 [Hybrid SACD + DVD]
Offered by dutchtoni
Price: £184.74

37 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stereo listeners beware, 15 Sept. 2007
Following the last review - only buy this set if you have an SACD 5.1 surround system.

The stereo mixes are very very compressed and bright sounding, compared to the previous CD releases.
Additionally, 'We Can't Dance' was mixed just about perfectly in it's original 1991 production, but here it is squashed flat and has much less energy than before, particularly in Collins's drums.
'Genesis' and 'Invisible Touch' are less 'brittle' sounding than before (an artefact on the original early digital recordings) but these gains are more than wiped out by the over-zealous compression. They are constantly very loud, with much less dynamic variation than before - much like a DAB or FM radio broadcast. You will not bring out the best in your fine audio gear with these CDs - but the recordings may sound fine in a car or other noisey environment where a constant level is more important than dynamics.

I must reiterate this is ONLY a review of the stereo mixes (which I understand are sub-mixed down from the 5.1 mixes). If the general response from listeners is anything like the previous box set, then most people will love the 5.1 mix, a few will hate the harshly compressed stereo mix, but most will probably still like the stereo mix too (many people favour this level of compression over having a more dynamic sound).

I am in the minority that doesn't like heavily compressed music, but that's just my opinion, hence the 1 star rating.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2008 4:31 PM GMT

Dance Into the Light
Dance Into the Light

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stylistically All Over The Place, 7 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Dance Into the Light (Audio CD)
This is the most schitzophrenic of all Collins's solo records. He seems to have caught the 'McCartney Syndrome' - tackling as many different styles as he can within a single album. Unfortunately, more than with McCartney, it comes over as 'jack of all trades, master of none'.

Low points include sudo-urbun effort 'Just Another Story', and three jingly-jangly Byrds-by-numbers efforts, that all just come over as disengenuous, even amateurish - certainly cheesey.

There is one fine high point where the old magic of this old genius shines through: 'Lorenzo' includes some trademark big drum sounds, dramatic, captivating rhythms and a joyous tune. It's far too good to have been dumped on this album.

Title track 'Dance Into The Light' also shows some potential, with its stabbing brass arrangement. But, it all feels a bit too safe and laid back - Collins is in Tarzan-soundtrack mode. This is more apparent still on the ultra-slushy 'Same Moon'.

'Take Me Down' is a Paul Simon-circa-Graceland pastiche. I've got Graceland; why do I need this?

'No Matter Who' is a fourth Byrds-ish number, but borrows more from their country period. It's not bad. Harmless enough.

It all ends on a low point with a formulaic arrangement of Dylan's 'The Times They Are A-Changing'.

If you want to hear this man at his creative and commercial best, get his first two solo albums and all the Genesis stuff from the 80s and early 90s. Then move on to the rest of the Genesis catalogue.
After listening to that you'll maybe regard this as a bit of a throwaway joke.

Live From New York City, 1967
Live From New York City, 1967
Price: £3.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As essential as any of their studio albums - if not more so, 6 July 2007
The sonic quality of this recording is amazing. Fair enough, one doesn't need 64-track technology to record 2 voices and a guitar (and the audience) but nevertheless, the standards that were employed to produce this recording were of the highest.

The performance is at turns exciting, funny and moving.
Both singers are in fine voice, notably on 'Benedictus' (first heard on the debut album), taken to a new level here in terms of perfectly matched harmony, melody and counter-melody. Beautiful stuff.

The only low points (and they're not really all that low) are 'Homeward Bound' - Arty strains to get the high notes at times (hear a better live version on the Greatest Hits album) - and 'You Don't Know Where You're Interest Lies', which was only half-developed at the time, and even in its finished state was never the strongest of Simon's songs.

Still, this album is still brilliant, even breathtaking the first couple of times you hear it such is its amazing sound. Put it on, lie back, listen, and (assuming your system is half-decent) you'll be right there.

* Of the earlier reviewer who gave this a low score, lamenting the lack of 'Mrs Robinson' or 'The Boxer' - this performance predates those songs.

Piano Cto 2 / Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Piano Cto 2 / Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Price: £11.52

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good performance - sound quality a bit ropey, so avoid this, 4 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nothing wrong with the performance.

But coming from 1972 it is a very hissy recording and the piano sound is quite muddy (not that all recordings from that time are really bad, some are excellent, but sadly this is not one of them). As such, you can't just close your eyes and get lost in the music, as the relatively poor quality is distracting.

Still - it cost me a silly little amount so was a fair gamble. Now I can hear how good the actual music is I will fork out for a decent version that maybe compares in recording quality to the Banks 'Seven' CD.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2011 9:24 AM GMT

Peter Gabriel 1
Peter Gabriel 1
Offered by trec002
Price: £19.99

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great songs - bad production, 29 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Peter Gabriel 1 (Audio CD)
Lyrically and musically, Gabriel is on excellent form on this, his debut solo effort. Unfortunately, the album is hampered by a muddy mix, with far far too much reverb, paricularly on Gabriel's voice. Gabriel is backed by a talented, but wholly inappropriate group of AOR musicians, many of whom - along with producer Bob Ezrin - were more famously associated with theatrical rocker Alice Cooper, and were just not suited to Gabriel's off-the-wall experimentative approach to making music. One exception is Gabriel's long time friend from King Crimson, bassist Tony Levin.

Final word of warning - if you do buy this, get the remastered issue. The original CD release sounds particularly nasty.

On a more positive note, if you can get past the slightly MOR rock arrangements and muddy over-production, the songs underneath are every bit as good as anything else Gabriel has written, with his trademark clever chord sequences, weird time signatures and inspired melodies. His musical genius is still evident throughout.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2014 12:50 AM GMT

M-Audio USB Midisport Uno | MIDI Interface Offering Basic 1 x 1 Operation and Bus-Powered Mobility
M-Audio USB Midisport Uno | MIDI Interface Offering Basic 1 x 1 Operation and Bus-Powered Mobility
Price: £18.90

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does the job - when it works!, 29 Jun. 2007
When it works it does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a simple interface for your keyboard (or other midi equipment) to get those signals into your PC via the USB input.

Unfortunately I have had a few hair-pulling moments over the years that I have owned mine, where the thing has stopped working - apparantly simply for being disconnected then reconnected. Then I have had to do a system restore to get my PC to recognise it again. So now I am extremely wary about unplugging it! Maybe the problem is with the driver I am using - although an update has been released very recently (but since mine is working right now I'm not going to upset the applecart by changing anything just yet).

On a more positive note though, see the previous review, where the user had no problems at all and didn't even need to use the driver (although I would guess that his PC found a general driver already installed). Maybe I have been unlucky.

John Williams: Greatest Hits 1969-1999
John Williams: Greatest Hits 1969-1999
Price: £17.52

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True works of genius, conducted by the man himself, 21 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'll keep it simple: All the essential film scores are here, and then some. Star Wars, Superman, ET, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Jaws, etc, etc, etc!

Whilst the majority of these are not the originals from the 70s and 80s you can rest assured that these are extremely faithful re-recordings, all conducted by Mr Williams himself, and recorded with the highest of production values.

Most of the recording sessions are from the 1990s, including a 1996 session at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, London.

Nice cover too - the normal CD case slips into a mock-up celluloid outer sleeve. Don't worry - it's not like one of those annoying cardboard outersleeves that prevents your CD sliding into your rack; its very thin plastic, resembling, as I said, celluloid (not to be confused with cellulite - that wouldn't look nice on your box).

I have heard lesser cover recordings of these themes, often with dodgy arrangements and at poor recording quality. This is a completely official release, sanctioned by the man himself and released on the reputable Sony Classical label, and sounds nothing short of the high quality one would expect.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 20, 2011 8:14 PM BST

Turn It On Again - The Hits (The Tour Edition)
Turn It On Again - The Hits (The Tour Edition)
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.84

12 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible over-compressed tinny sound thanks to the mastering 'skills' of Tony Cousins, 15 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having heard the drastically over-compressed masters from the recently released SACD/DVDs I must admit I had pretty low expectations with regard to this compilation album - and they didn't dissapoint me in that regard.

The stuff from the eponymously titled 'Genesis' and 'Invisible Touch' albums probably sounds the worst. 'That's All' and 'Illegal Alien' have a horrible drum sound, rendering them unlistenable to anyone who cares anything at all about basic sound quality. Those were never very 'warm' sounding tracks in the first place, as they were recorded on very primitive early digital equipment (Abacab was the last album to recorded on analogue). So a modern re-mix/remaster was something to look forward to. Sadly, it's just made things worse.

Whatever gains were made by the great producer Nick Davis in remixing these songs has been destroyed by the heavy mastering compression/limiting applied by Tony Cousins (who mastered the entire remix catalogue).

I suggest you email your complaints direct to him at Metropolis Mastering.

For those listening on cheap midi systems these recordings may well sound quite good to you. Enjoy.

* Incidentally, those remastered tracks from 'Genesis' and 'Invisible Touch' found on the original 'Turn It On Again' release in 1999 sound very good. Not surprisingly, Tony Cousins was not involved.

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13