Rolling Stones SACDs--Initial Impressions
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FCJ

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I just picked up five of the new Stones SACD remasters (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Aftermath (UK version), Between the Buttons (UK version), and Metamorphosis). I've only listened to two cuts off of Beggars Banquet ("Sympathy For the Devil" and my favorite cut on Beggars Banquet, "No Expectations") so far, and compared them to the 1986 CD remasters (I no longer have the LP
). I used the Sony DVP-NS500v through the Corda HA-1 and Ety4s headphones for my listening.

While I would not base success or failure of the remasterings on just two songs, so far I can boil down the improvements in sound and presentation to one word:

Astounding.

I first listened to "Sympathy For the Devil." The benefits that I heard over the '86 remastering are: (1) the percussion is more clearly audible and has much more presence; (2) Nicky Hopkins' piano also is much clearer within the mix; (3) Keith Richards' solo mid-way has much more bite; (4) Mick's vocals, too, are much clearer and have greater presence. Separation between instruments is also improved over the '86 remastering, which sounds like mud by comparison.

Second, the improvements on "No Expectations" were also great. Keith's acoustic guitar was more up front and balanced compared to the '86 remastering. Both piano and percussion were better balanced and clearer. Brian Jones's slide (in what was his final, greatest moment as a Stone IMO) was also clearer and had more balance. All around, you could place each instrument in its space much better than in the '86 version, which muddied up the overall presentation. Jagger's vocals, too, have improved in that they are clearer and less "buried."

More impressions hopefully to come as I listen to the rest of the CDs.
 
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kelly

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My local Tower didn't have them all in last night so I picked from what they had. The ones I went home with were:

Aftermath (US)
Beggar's Bangquet
Let It Bleed
Get Yer Ya Ya's Out

I listened to Aftermath and Ger Yer Ya Ya's Out in their entirety but haven't listened to the toehr two yet.

The sound quality of both is excellent and the mystery of which version of "Paint It Black" is on Aftermath is resolved. It is in stereo although it's that odd highly seperated stereo where instruments sometimes seem to be in only one channel. (Similar to "The Doors" if you've heard that or a lot of other recordings of that era.)

Get Yer Ya Ya's of course has a much more realistic soundstage (as good live albums tend to).

I won't be able to hear these in SACD for a bit longer yet.
 
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FCJ

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Quote:

My local Tower didn't have them all in last night so I picked from what they had. The ones I went home with were:

Aftermath (US)
Beggar's Bangquet
Let It Bleed
Get Yer Ya Ya's Out


That's funny, the local store I tried (CD World) also didn't have all the reissues. Neither did the local Borders. I wonder if they're available? I assume they are, but I'm surprised that distribution isn't full on all titles.

Quote:

The sound quality of both is excellent and the mystery of which version of "Paint It Black" is on Aftermath is resolved. It is in stereo although it's that odd highly seperated stereo where instruments sometimes seem to be in only one channel. (Similar to "The Doors" if you've heard that or a lot of other recordings of that era.)


I'm curious if you listened with crossfeed? If so, does it make a difference?

You're right about the recordings of the era having highly seperated stereo sound--it's annoying.

Quote:

Get Yer Ya Ya's of course has a much more realistic soundstage (as good live albums tend to).

I won't be able to hear these in SACD for a bit longer yet.


Interesting comment about Ya Yas. It was recorded in MSG in 1969. I saw the Stones there in 1976--it's one of the worst venues around, both for sound and sightlines. I don't remember the recording, though--I will have to check it out next.

I think you'll be in for a treat when you listen to the SACD layer. I just listened to the rest of "Beggars Banquet" on SACD and I've found the differences between it and the 1986 remasters to be nothing short of astounding.
 
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kelly

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I didn't listen last night with crossfeed as the amp I was listening on doesn't have crossfeed. I have listened to a lot of early recordings including The Doors at work with the Corda's crossfeed and it helps tremendously.

My DVD drive won't read SACDs so I can't listen to these discs at work until I can bum someone's machine on the network that has a normal CD drive and see if I can rip them to .ape with EAC.
 
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If I buy the 3-disc singles collection today am I still allowed to post my impressions in this thread?


Did either of you happen to see the London Years collection or was that one missing? Were they on sale, and if so, where?

markl
 
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kelly

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markl

The Tower I was at had Hot Rocks but not the London Years set. I was, prior to arriving, debating whether to get the London Years collection because the quality was reportedly much better on that collection than on the full releases last time around. So... my choice sort of got made for me, since I wasn't going to go home empty handed.
 
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Were they on sale? I have a Tower and a Borders nearby.
 
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kelly

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The normal discs were on sale for $13.99 -- they weren't marked yet at midnight but since I called ahead, the guy left a note for them. Hot Rocks should be just under double that.

They're 12.99 at bestbuy.com -- dunno the actual price at Best Buy stores.

BTW Tower didn't have Grant Lee Phillips' SACD in stock.
 
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"BTW Tower didn't have Grant Lee Phillips' SACD in stock."

Got mine through www.elusivedisc.com

markl
 
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Bob Ludwig is THE MAN............Mikie Fremmer from Stereophile was pretty much blown away by his sample disc of these releases
in new Stereophile while reviewing Accuphase SACD player, and he has clean UK vinyl copies to compare to.
 
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FCJ

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I paid $12.98/$13.99 for mine. I saw them in Borders for $16.99 "on sale."
 
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Well that sucked!


Borders didn't have them, and Tower had a few but they weren't sale priced and rang up at $18.99. I had Let it Bleed because there was no sign of London Singles, but didn't get it. I ended up with the new Coldplay and Queens of the Stone Age instead.

Also, another shocker-- the new re-masters had no indication that they were SACDs! No "Hybrid/Stereo" sticker, no SACD symbol, nada. Why????? Here's their big chance to finally make people aware of SACD and they blow it! No attempt to market it at all! Unbelievable.

For those of you that did get them, did they at least have that little two-page booklet on SACD inside?

markl
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
Well that sucked!

Borders didn't have them, and Tower had a few but they weren't sale priced and rang up at $18.99. I had Let it Bleed because there was no sign of London Singles, but didn't get it. markl


Ouch! What a rip, like Kelly said Best Buy has them $12.99 at their website...........order them there.

I agree they need to educate consumer about what a hybrid CD is, and that it can play both on a regular CD player or a SACD/CD player.
 
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kelly

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I thought we'd already talked about the SACD labeling thing? Maybe that was somewhere else. There was a big article about it somewhere.

Anyway, it does say that they are SACD dual layer but the message is a small item on the inside of the CD.


It's obvious to me that they did this to keep from confusing the layperson and to make sure the CDs get placed in the general section instead of that tiny SACD section thats hidden throughout the store.

In my opinion (and many others), SACD should have been a transparent format. Like HDCD, the format (when dual layer) is fully backward compatible and the average consumer shouldn't even have to know about it to end up buying the product.

(Pardon my French...) But Sony could **** up a trainwreck. So they did the only thing they could POSSIBLY do to **** this thing up and released single layer discs. This forced stores to start a special section to keep layperson consumers from buying the wrong format and getting it home to be upset that it wouldn't play. This was, in my opinion, a MAJOR setback.

Now because some people have the belief that "SACDs won't play on my regular CD player", Sony has to FIX what they've broken by slowly reintroducing people to the format. To transition this they'll have to eventually stop production on all of the single layer discs.

I fully blame Sony for the mess they've created of this, but I do believe the way the Stones remasters were handled was a GOOD step to correcting the problem. People who read their inner sleaves will discover that they already own some SACDs. Meanwhile it didn't scare anyone out of buyin them and the Stones are popular enough that all of the conneseuirs found out they were SACD through other means.

AHEM. Anyway. The sale price at Tower should have started today according to their staff but maybe it won't start until the next ad cycle so try back on Friday if you don't have a Best Buy or whatever other store to get them at. $18.99 IS the correct retail price.
 
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"In my opinion (and many others), SACD should have been a transparent format. Like HDCD, the format (when dual layer) is fully backward compatible and the average consumer shouldn't even have to know about it to end up buying the product.

I fully blame Sony for the mess they've created of this, but I do believe the way the Stones remasters were handled was a GOOD step to correcting the problem. "

How will I know that I need a SACDP if I don't know that the discs I'm buying have a separate hi-rez layer? If they don't sell SACDPs, SACD will die. Labels won't spend the extra to master the SACD layer or extra costs of producing SACD discs for the 10 geeks with their SACDPs. This is not the way to create demand for SACD. Only geeks like us will have any idea that these new Stones discs have an SACD layer.

There's another risk. If there's no explanation included with the disc of what SACD is, the under-informed might think they are listening to the SACD layer on their old Redbook players. Then they'll think, "gee this SACD thing doesn't sound all that different from my regular CD", which of course it doesn't because they're listening to the Redbook layer.

I say "sticker away", "label-away", and "booklet away!"

markl
 
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