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Customer Review

24 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Recorded through an old sock with bits of wire, 29 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Jake Bugg (Audio CD)
Jake Bugg is an immensely talented young man. As many have said, a Dylan for the 21st century. Great songwriter and nice voice etc. So why record the album so badly? It's possibly the worst cd recording I've ever had. It's so bad I think it contravenes the trade descriptions act. I could have recorded better on an old cassette recorder. The record company should hang their heads in shame for putting this out. My advice to anyone who has a Hifi system that cost any more than 200 quid is save your money. This is for the iPod/iPhone generation who are used to listening to over compressed tripe. Why. Why, why, put junk like this out? As for the people who produced, engineered, mastered it, what a bunch of losers. I just hope you're pleased with yourselves. Hey, we've got some great music here, lets do our best to ruin it. Well done fellas. I hope you never get to work on another album.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Oct 2012 14:40:25 GMT
bubba74 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012 16:54:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Dec 2012 18:20:24 GMT
Jeff Pipsey says:
Reviews are for the product not just the musical content, and I find them far more helpful this way. I wish Amazon would give an option to '1/2 star' music reviewers to have their reviews put either in a section for sound quality or a section for their own subjective opinion of the music; that way I wouldn't have to wade through lots of subjective self-regarding personalised whinging dross to actually get to a comment about the CD/mastering quality. (Not that I'm saying there aren't from time to time some objective or respectfully subjective 1/2 star reviews out there.)

True, "westwinds..." is a lone voice so far on here, but it did make me think twice before buying the CD at this price.
I myself have quickly listened to it on Spotify through fairly good Sennheiser headphones from a home cinema/media centre laptop and I did enjoy it, hence why I was looking to buy the CD. The recording seemed ok to me at the time, so my problem with their review is their later indication that it might be caused by a lot of dynamic range compression: The jibe about those who listen to "over compressed tripe" doesn't help - I do not like dynamic range compression for the most part but that does not mean I do not like deliberate recording distortion/artifacts whether playing on a >£200 system or not. Two different issues! If there is dynamic range compression or/and "loudness" then that would concern me a lot more. So I find their review a little misleading for that reason.

Any more comments on the sound quality of this record and the dynamic range would be most appreciative so that westwinds is no longer a lone or unchallenged voice.

***EDIT and UPDATE***
I've since bought this CD. I have left a new comment below in response to the main review, and this updates my view on the sound quality.

Posted on 29 Oct 2012 21:29:15 GMT
I think some of the under-production is deliberate. The last track was recorded by Bugg himself in his kitchen, on his ipod. He has said he is proud of his producer credit for it. If it doesn't sound as great as you are used to, that is part of the story of the album. Personally, I like it that way. The quality of the writing and singing and playing shines through despite all of the (sometimes deliberate?) limitations of the sound reproduction. It's better than having auto-tuning and a battery of sound engineers trying to coax a reasonable sound out of the ultimately talentless, n'est-ce pas? It is, in that way, very much against the current trend, surely? You can argue that Bugg is derivative, but that doesn't make him inauthentic. It is a very good album despite what you say. Though I take your point and let's hope it doesn't become an affectation.

Posted on 30 Oct 2012 08:04:31 GMT
Shaun_Hibs says:
Exactly Bolt. The boy recorded some of it in his ma's kitchen - what was the reviewer expecting? It took the Beatles over 45 years to get a decent quality audio of their LP's released.

Posted on 3 Nov 2012 18:09:48 GMT
westwinds, If you are smart enough to edit and repost my comment you should have the nous to change your own too. An 'immensely talented young man' doesn't really deserve a one star review for his debut album, don't you think? I'll withdraw and apologise for the original 'Get over it' comment on that assumption.

Posted on 10 Nov 2012 22:38:13 GMT
Chomienne says:
Hi. Do you have any idea whether the sound on the LP could be intirely different or maybe better at least? Did you get a chance to listen to it? (Anyone ?) Oh and thank you for your review by the way, found it usefull and I didn't find it degrading for the artist, in fact, I'd take this as some kinda 'sharp compliment'. Anyway, any answer'd be much appreciated!
Of course, how could I forget ; congratulations to the artist, I was stunned (still am) by so much talent.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Nov 2012 20:45:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Nov 2012 12:20:08 GMT
Mark Twain says:
In response to Bubba74's comment, what's the weather got to do with it??

Posted on 24 Nov 2012 12:45:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Dec 2012 18:32:27 GMT
Jeff Pipsey says:
Just to update, I've now made the jump and bought this CD, and it's err, obvious to me that he's gone for a retro sound on this recording. If this is what "westwinds..." is complaining about then I find that ridiculous; it's clearly a deliberate choice that suits the old-time style of his music, and it's only prevalent on some of the tracks anyway. Anyone used to listening to old recordings like Woody Guthrie or Leadbelly should have no problem with this recording whether it's on a >£200 system or not. Those tracks in question are nowhere near the awful quality of most cassette demos that you find as bonus tracks on new issues of classic albums. The last track is clearly to me an icing-on-the-cake novelty wind-down to the album - a typically Woody Guthrie throwback with some deliberate novelty crackle thrown into the recording (this is the only track that gets this noticeable crackle, and none of the others get to the level of deliberate under-production on this track). Going by his other review, I can only assume "westwinds..." is too used to listening to crisp recordings of Steely Dan, and I guess others that spend all their time listening to quality SACD masterings of Dark Side of the Moon and the like are going to find this a jolt too.

I have now given it some listens on my very good living room sound system (yes over £200 ) and as a whole I found this recording and CD mastering reasonably good overall at normal volume. As already mentioned it varies in (deliberate) retro distortion by track, and I would say the majority of the album is pretty clean and crisp anyway. The more under produced tracks do not sound bad at all. I may have detected some brightness in percussion instruments, and quite a few of the tracks got a bit more harsh when I cranked up the volume, but then this isn't the style of music to me that you play at high volumes anyway.

I was most concerned though with dynamic range compression, particularly after "westwinds..." jibe. From listening, I found the dynamic range reasonably good on the album as a whole, but it is over-loud in places, with the first three tracks being the worst culprits - cranking up the volume really highlighted this. Looking at the waveforms through the computer show portions of "squashing" in the first two tracks, but it's not the worst dynamic range compression by any means. The main offender though is the third track which shows the waveform from about 50s onwards with everything almost cranked up to max - it's certainly not the worst case I've seen, but it is getting close to that flat rectangle covering waveform look found on 'worst' cases of dynamic range compression from the past (e.g. What's the Story Morning Glory, Iggy Pop's remix of Raw Power). One could of course argue that the mushy sound suited that track, and I suppose you're not likely to get listening fatigue just from that track minus 50 seconds. After that track though the waveforms show it is mostly very reasonable mastering in terms of dynamic range.

So overall this CD is a Yes from me. I will now be changing my helpful vote of "westwinds..." review to an unhelpful one, as I feel he/she is being ludicrously and subjectively picky, and also 1 star for a rating on this is way too harsh. Sadly it seems to me that some (not necessarily all) have jumped on this negative bandwagon.

Posted on 28 Nov 2012 10:46:20 GMT
Otto says:
I don't much like the sound on this CD either, it does him no favours, however if you want to hear Jake without the rough edges look for his iTunes Festival gig video on YouTube, it sounds great and you get to see him too. There's an EP of the gig available on iTunes. For a hugely talented 18yo singer-songwriter whose debut IS beautifully produced and engineered look no further than "More Than Boys" by Luke Jackson.

Posted on 3 Dec 2012 21:10:59 GMT
Mr C says:
Sometimes it is clear when a reviewer evidently just doesn't know his onions music wise and sadly this is such a case. Its deliberate Westwinds! Recorded in a mono Sun Records kinda' way like the very early Jonny Cash cuts or Hank Williams before him...but then you may well not even get those reference points so I'm likely wasting my time writing this at all. "Losers"!? "Junk"!? The joke is on you not production!
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