Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
What's this Box REALLY Like Inside and Out...
on 21 October 2011
When I first learned of what this box was going to include, there was no way I wasn't going to get it. I knew that I wasn't going to pay Rhino's price, that was for certain.. And I certainly wasn't going to let Rhino charge me $110.00 to ship this to the U.S. - - but then I found it on Amazon(UK) for 188.00 pounds.. (221 minus VAT tax... Americans should never pay VAT). Only 3.08 to ship ($5.25 U.S. to ship).
So it's delivered on the Saturday after its release and it's massive and heavy. Weighing in over 17 pounds and about 20 inches across by 14 inches. The outer box is sturdy and is completely covered with the cover art. You open the lid like a chest and find the CDs as mini-LPs. All details captured, down to the embossed SMITHS on Strangeways, or the hype sticker on albums like "Hatful of Hollow". As far as the CDs go, they don't look quite as authentic as the Japan mini-lp issues from a few years ago, but still look nice. If I had one gripe, I wish the text could have been bigger. However, the sound quality is absolutely wonderful. Not 'just made louder', different and MUCH better than the 2008-2009 remasters...
The LPs pay the same attention to detail, but I haven't put them on the turntable yet.
The 7" collection replicates the artwork nicely, even including the reverse negative HAND IN GLOVE and a few rarities. You get a poster of the cover art, but who cares? You get a series of 12: thick stock high-gloss cards of the album art, and you get the COMPLETE PICTURE DVD, which works on all players (whether DVD, Blu-Ray or PS3), regardless of country or region code. Which was nice for me being in the U.S.
Here's a major gripe of mine... The download card. It says in every advertisememt "COMES WITH HIGH QUALITY MP3s of everything in the box"
They're partly correct, but you've also been duped. The albums, which is redundant as downloads, are indeed 320KBPS... Above the industry standard - which is why they're called HIGH-Quality... HOWEVER... the Singles... the MP3s of the Vinyl... MOST SONGS are 192KBPS! This is unacceptably LOW and it's false advertising really... For this, I cannot give the box 5 stars.
Overall, the sound improvement and the collectible nature of this box makes it well worth it. The sound really is amazing and different that the 2008-2009 masters from SOUND OF THE SMITHS or the Singles box sets of 2009, or the MP3 Codes that came with the vinyl LPs in 2009.
So let's address the misconceptions I've heard:
1. I have everything on the original Rough Trade label, why would I need this?
I didn't say sell the old stuff, but the sound quality is amazing... Why wouldn't you want the much better sound - with Johnny Marr's involvement or approval? Have BOTH.
2. But... But... Morrissey said don't buy it!
Morrissey does NOT care about you... If he wasn't whining about this, he'd be whining about how they're scaring squirrels for entertainment somewhere in eastern europe.
3. But Paint a Vulgar Picture! Best of! Most of!
What does a song about a record company milking a dead star's catalogue have to do with a founding member of the band deciding to make a box set???????
4. They just made it louder! Brickwalled! Louder! Brickwalled!
Not true. I was not so pleased with the mastering in the late 2000s, but this is splendid! STRETCH OUT AND WAIT, UNLOVEABLE, and WILLIAM... have never sounded so amazing.