Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
In my Opinion, one of the best Pop Albums
on 24 March 2014
Postscript on 06 April 2014: after reading some comments about the Getz /Gilberto albums, I have to agree that you might be better off buying the CD, especially if you do not have a Bluray player already as a separate item or as Bluray player and the software to play the recordings integrated to your laptop or PC. The investment in new equipment and software might not be worth it as the 320kbps MP3 download sounds just as good to my ears and you can replay this format or the CD for that matter on all types of player or a computer. £10.50 was not too much for me to pay for the Bluray version but many of the other titles are much more expensive and are available on CD much cheaper.
If you cannot remember the late seventies then this one of the most played albums. Nearly everyone had a copy of the LP or the audio-cassette. LP was still king and in 1979 we were still waiting for CD players. Supertramp was being played everywhere; at your friend's house, on AM radio, on FM radio, on the telly and at the disco and nightclub. The music is great; it is very much jazz influenced and is a little bit symphonic. The musicians and music are great too and so are the lyrics. Breakfast In America has all the liveliness redolent of the USA but the music is very definitely European in style. Supertramp were big on the continent as well as the UK and USA.
I have an original 1979 copy of the LP. The record has survived the years very well and plays almost without surface noise and clicks and pops. I felt no need to buy the CD.
So why did I decide to buy the snazzy Blu Ray version and what was I expecting?
First of all, Blu Ray disc audio is a relatively new format and I thought I would give it a try.
I was expecting the best of pop music to be delivered at the highest quality of sound reproduction. I was expecting only two channel stereo as this was the original format of the music . I do not believe it was released in quadrosonic or quadrophonic four channel audio.
I was also expecting a high quality download either in 320 kbps MP3 or in Flac lossless audio.
I was not disappointed in the music as I am obviously a fan. I was impressed by the quality of the sound reproduction and the music came out of my speakers sounding far better than I had heard this music before from any source. If you go back to 1979 all music lovers had separate HIFI systems and the quality of the equipment varied considerably. None of the turntable sound reproduction that I can remember matches this version.
Why is this? It is not because the delivery mechanism is "HIRES" 24 bit / 96 KHz ( 24/96) but it is because it has been mastered so well and the music retains the dynamic range of the original recordings. The audio has not been compressed and you are hearing the music as it was originally intended. 24/96 is great for digital recording and manipulation of the master recording in the studio but for general distribution 16 bit/44.1 KHz recordings or CD quality is plenty good enough.
I played the Blu Ray disc through my player which is connected to an amplifier via audio line outputs and the music sounded fantastic. But so did the 320 kbps MP3 download, which came with the package, when I played it back through the USB interface on the same player. Some of the MP3 tracks are from different masters and you can hear this difference. But the others sound the same. I also cut a CD from the MP3 and played this back through my Blu Ray player with similar results. The 320 kbps sounds as good as the "HIRES" but this is no real surprise - read on.
Then I connected the Blu Ray player to my HIFI Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC). The Blu Ray player optical digital output re-samples the music to 24 bit 48 Khz. You might expect a reduction in quality but quite the reverse. My HIFI DAC reproduces music better than the DAC in the Blu Ray player.
If you are expecting HIFI nirvana from 24/96 or 24/192 "HIRES" music than you will be disappointed. No-one has been proven to tell the difference between "HIRES" 24/96, 24/192 or SACD sound reproduction and 16/bit/44.1 CD quality when all other parameters are equal - including the same master recording and audio reproduction equipment at the same volume. I cannot do this nor can any of my friends.
Of course, some people may be able to do so and the journalist Justin Colletti would like to hear from you to try a scientific double blind test and find out if and why anyone is able to hear a difference. Type this into google search: Think You Have Golden Ears? Take the Scientist Challenge! The results could be used to make HIFI sound better for all of us.
Lastly, I played the LP record and it sounds almost as good as the Blu Ray and the download but I could hear a little bit of extra harmonic distortion but that is to be expected after all those years.
I am not knocking 24/96 music; the sound quality is excellent and if this is the only way that music fans can get hold of uncompressed music, which is very well mastered, then I am all in favour of it.
I hope Blu Ray disc audio is going to be successful and will take off, especially as you have the opportunity to download a 320 Kbps MP3 too. A third of households in the UK have a Blu ray player so you do not have to buy a specialised player and you can play the audio back through a high quality AV system or through a conventional HIFI.
At £10.50 Breakfast In America on Blu Ray audio represents excellent value for money and it arrived quickly from Canada. I recommend this highly.