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Reviews: Derek & The Dominos: Layla

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Reviews: 18

Review by FivePointOne November 11, 2004 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Niiiiiice. Finally a "Layla..." that sounds like we all KNEW it should. I picked this up from my local Borders (only 1 copy at this Houston store, go figure) and "previewed" the redbook version in my car on the drive home. I was impressed with the sound quality and its improvement over earlier versions. Then I popped it into my SACD player at home and, MAMA, it sounds sweet. True separation between Clapton's guitars and Duane's, clearer keyboards, drums and cymbals you could actually hear as opposed to the squelchy stuff from earlier versions.

This has a very tasteful 5.1 surround mix. Nothing too flashy, but you know it is there. I've had various versions of this disc, and this one takes the cake. This is Clapton's best stuff.

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Review by JW November 24, 2004 (9 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Anticipating the arrival of my SA-CD, I thought I re-familiarize myself with the 20th Anniversary Edition RBCD. Within the well publicised recording limitations I find this CD performs admirably, especially as opposed to the earlier non-remastered version (though this from memory and I can't remember which version I have - it's in the other house, 15.000 miles away, so I can't look :-). The extreme muddiness of the earlier CD's is something I remember well. And the 20 Ann. Edition cleans up the sound significantly. In fact I find it surprisingly listenable - the treble is not harsh and the soundstage and instrument separation overall pretty good. The treble is rolled off which in this case is probably better otherwise the RBCD would have been unlistenable. Guitars stand out and have sufficient weight. Clapton's voice is recessed at times, but not absolutely burried in the mix. And this of course varies track by track. Clapton seems to turn away from the mike a lot on many tracks. Look, this ain't no sonic wonder, but the 20th Ann. Edition RBCD has an organic (dare I say analog) feel to it that, despite its limitations, makes it an interesting listening experience. I am looking forward to the new effort on SA-CD... Fast forward about 10 days . . . .

SA-CD is in the house today. And yes, it's the best Layla I have ever heard. And it's also somewhat strange, almost alienating, to hear the album like this. For many many years we have been accustomed to the muddy, crunchy and piercing sound of Layla. And now that's more or less gone. We have taken a number of important steps forward, bringing us closer to the original event. This will never be an 'audiophile disc' though. There is more weight, more space and more detail. Less mud, less congestion and less crunchiness to the sound. Higher level as well (to level match the SA-CD with the RBCD I have to turn my volume about a '5 minute-increment' back). I feel more involved in the recording than ever before. Switching between layers emphasizes that. The CD layer is fine but cannot match the hi-rez layer for sheer musical involvement, expansiveness and space. You can hear so much more on this SA-CD. The voices are less burried and the guitars have more space around them. As I said, I find myself getting into this music more and more. The fact that the sound allows you to hear deeper into the recording just gets you 'there'. On 'Nobody Knows You etc' I feel that there is someone playing in my right speaker. Clapton's voice is distant and slightly off center. A bit strange, but interesting. Compare that to the same track on the 20th Ann. Edition RBCD - that mix has everything dead center. The SA-CD is the original mix, so I guess it is what it is and the RBCD has been re-mastered and a few new choices were made to create a certain sound. On the SA-CD's 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman' the guitar is more attached to the voice in the center. The recording has a few of these peculiarities. The drums seem to wander around a bit at times. On many tracks I just want to call out; "Eric, will you PUH-LEEZE stop walking way from that microphone!". On 'Key To The Highway' Duane Allman can be heard left of center, slightly recessed into the background, while Clapton pops up again into the right speaker. But this is such great music. Who cares.

Does the SA-CD shame the RBCD referenced above? Interestingly enough I still like the 20 Ann. Edition RBCD. When I re-read my review after having listened to a few tracks on that CD and switching to the SA-CD, I can still affirm the sentiments I expressed 10 days before.

So. Three stars or five ? How to rate this SA-CD ? I tend to rate SA-CD's against an imaginary median - some construct I have in my mind about how all the SA-CD's I own sound in my system. Hopelessly flawed. Sure. But this is not science. Against this vague notion the Layla disc should be a three star I guess. On the other hand this is the best Layla ever. It gets you close to the original, warts and all. It's very involving and it does justice to the great music. I think I'll add both ratings up and split it: 4 stars.



Jw
(btw this is a 2CH review only, have no MCH)

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Review by pigpenz November 24, 2004 (1 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is what I have been waiting for! Good nice mix and great sounds.....better than any of the earlier versions I have listened too....brings back flashbacks of Nov. 1970.

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Review by mukkachukka January 13, 2005 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
O.k., I've had just about every version of this album (vinyl, cassette, first CD release, gold CD release, remastered CD release) and with every version I spent numerous hours messing around with my stereo trying to get a decent sound from Layla. Even the gold MFSL CD had so much muddiness and hiss that I gave up hope of ever hearing a decent sounding release of Layla. Until now. Wow, what a stunner. Nothing flashy going on with the surrounds, but this album wouldn't really lend itself well to that kind of treatment anyway. What you get is a nice, wide envelope of clear sound that will give you shivers if you are a fan of this album. It is releases such as this one that makes SACD such an important and needed music format.

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Review by glenmulder January 30, 2005 (4 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Just got this after reading your reviews.
Come on guys this sound is awful, compared to some of the releases we have had just lately,Elton johns being one. now this may be the best sounding 'Layla', well that doesnt say much for the other versions. Claptons voice on all tracks just sounds so dated.If i wanted to listen to Clapton i would play 'Reptile' which is an awesome SACD.
So come on don't lets fool people this is an old sounding SACD and should not have been given 5 stars i would only give it 2, and by the way this will only get 1 play for me it is now on my backshelf.

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Review by Frankie say sacd January 31, 2005 (4 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Don't know what set-up GlenMuller use for listening.
This sacd sounds great for more than 35 years old recordings! In the soft passages there's a slightly of noise but i play very loud (the remaster cd has more noise).
Cracking voices? Shrill guitars? Other bad sound qualities? NO WAY!
In stereo or multichannel sounds Layla and other assorted love songs just fine and can't be better.

I rate the sonics from 3 up to 5, so it will be a 4.

The performance is a 5. This album includes many great songs as Key to the highway, Keep on growing, Have you ever loved a woman and obviously Layla.

With allmost 80 minutes of duration and the best sound quality you can get; this sacd is a very good buy and won't disappoint you. Recommended!

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Review by Zowie July 9, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:  
I purchased a standard CD copy of this album four years ago and was appalled at the poor sound quality. The hiss on the disc and the muddy sound made a brilliant album almost unlistenable.

Thank God that this new disc is a vast improvement on the old copy. I was impressed by the clarity of the instruments and how some instruments come alive in a mix that previously had them buried somewhere in the distance!

I would wholly recommend this album to anyone. If you have an older standard CD edition, bin it and cough up for an excellent SACD.

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Review by mystic fred March 6, 2006 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
well something seems to have gone drastically wrong here in the remastering department. i played a direct comparison test to an original vinyl copy on my linn sondek that revealed much more depth and clarity than to this SACD remaster which sounded dull and muddy, especially in the midrange department. the cd layer didn't fare much better either, which is an unusual turn of events when you compare most cd's to vinyl, but it has heppened before. the SACD had much more bass, rather too much, but i have found this an overall disappointment. sorry folks, my ears don't lie!

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Review by CaryGrant March 15, 2006 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I agree that this is not a great sounding SACD, compared to others available. Probably better than the CD, but that's not saying much. I found the sound muddy, lacking whatever-it-is that helps one connect with the music. I thought it was just a poor original recording, but upon reading the other reviews...perhaps not. I have a Creek 5350 amp and B&W 602s, so my system reveals detail nicely - or lack of. With this SACD, we're back to spending $20-30 for a couple of decent songs.

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Review by andyshedd September 15, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I don't know if I can add anything that hasn't been said already, but I just got this SACD in the mail and I am very very happy with it. I have owned 3 other versions of "Layla" and this is by far the best. My complaint with some of the previous versions (especially the Mofi version) was muddiness and lack of definition. This one simply sparkles--bright but not harsh; instruments vocals and cymbals shimmer, taking advantage of the DSD format's delicate, smooth sound. The multi channel effects were used tastefully, enhancing the ambience without being obtrusive and distracting. All in all one of the best SACDs in my collection. Try to get it before it is too late; sadly it is out of print. Amazon claims to have some used but they appear to be standard redbook cds NOT sacds.

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Review by sacd1 January 14, 2007 (0 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
good sounds 2 ch,& multi channel.

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Review by analogue February 24, 2009 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Universal Music actually released a classic rock album of excellent quality. Wow!!!! Bob Ludwid make a digital transfer from the original master tapes at the resolution of 24/192. A dsd copy was made of this. The sound is awesome. It does not sound digital at all. One could not say this is an audiophile album by any stretch but it doesn't matter. It doesnt have to be this to be enjoyed. Full, deep, rich, warm and dynamic..and yes....there still are a few incoherent moments where the singers pull away from the mike or some such thing.....hey.that;s as much part of this album as the guitar playing. This is not one of those recordings where it is three dimensional and life like but it's very substantial and meaty. It has great warm presence.

But what really is amazing is the quality of this sacd and how much improved it is. It has never....ever sounded this good. If more classic albums were released like this it would be a wonderful world indeed.

Great job folks.

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Review by trich727 April 28, 2010 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I can't agree with most of you more. This is the best sounding Layla that has ever been released, a MUST HAVE for fans of this recording. And a note to Mr. Mulhurn(?), Reptile is a DVD-A, but I don't think your Craig DVD player will even play the DVD-A files?

For those of us comparing oranges to oranges, this is probably the best it will ever be, and a HUGE LEAP over any previous release. Tom

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Review by Goodwood October 26, 2010 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I must admit I have struggled to enjoy this SACD and despite equipment changes it still sounds dull and lifeless despite most of my SACD's sounding just great.

I began to wonder if the new SHM version would sound any better and then something happened which serves to caution anyone who expects a miracle improvement just because of a format change. That something was the digging out of my 3 disc Layla sessions boxed CD set. The disc of the album is remixed and hell does it sound good. Occasionally the mixes aren't faithful to the originals but they are always entertaining. The dynamics are there as is the frequency range.

If only it had been this version to make it to SACD! And so I hereby admit defeat and proclaim that this SACD doesn't cut it. To me it's a great album contrained by a terrible mix or mastering or whatever.

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Review by james_joyce October 30, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:  
Layla rocks! Layla isn't an audiophile showcase, but this is by far the best version of one of the great albums of the last half century. The is more life, more detail, more clarity... in short just more there there than I've ever heard. I can finally listen to this album and not think to myself "if only the recording were better."

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Review by progboy January 30, 2011 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The music is wonderful ........The sound quality on this SACD is very average for my ears........

It is an improvement over my old CD version for sure, but not leaps and bounds......

I think this SACD is pretty reasonably priced and it is worth picking up BUT dont expect to be sonically blown away .....

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Review by MacClaus December 31, 2013 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Great Music, dull sound! The Platinum SHM-CD or SHM-CD (2013) is the best version out there!!!

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Review by audiogirl April 9, 2014 (4 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The Dynamic Range has been completely destroyed. Another ear bleeder for the trash can. One of the worst digital versions of this great album.

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