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Reviews: Keane: Hopes and Fears

Reviews: 9

Review by zomax December 12, 2004 (12 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I was dubious as to whether this sacd would be worth the extra money, as the Universal website showed a low bit rate for the DVDa, which I assumed would mean a low bit rate PCM master. My initial impression on the stereo sacd confirmed my doubt. However, one listen to the multichannel layer and I had no regrets.

First, the music is rock/pop. Comparisons to Coldplay are inevitable and not unjustified, though Keane's music is nearly all piano-based. Not a lot of guitars, if any. Nice melodies, singer is good, though his voice uses the same tenor/falsetto pretty much the same throughout. Some songs use (computer-generated?) effects (see below). Hard to find a stand-out song on the album, but no bad ones either.

On the stereo sacd, I was disappointed with the lack of soundstage and the wishy-washy cymbals and drums. The MC mix allows the music to spread out and become more ambient. Drums and cymbals are still not as crisp as I like them to be, but the wishy-washy aspect is much decreased. In stereo, the effects seemed to detract from the presence of the other instruments. In 5.1, the effects add more and detract less than in stereo -- it gives the songs a very nice ethereal flavor that fits the music. 5.1 is definitely the way to go here.

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Review by jsp January 11, 2005 (2 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
very succesful album in the united kingdom
bought cd in july saw the band live in september
imported the sacd december as sacd isnt widely avalible in the uk (an unknown format)

the MC mix adds a great ambiance to the whole album

my girlfriends favorite track is bedshaped which she normally repeat at least twice in a row

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Review by Kevin January 12, 2005 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
"Hopes and Fears" is one of my favourite Albums from the last year, and I was happy to see it getting released on SACD. The Album itself with it's wonderfully sung songs, the atmospheric arrangements and widespread sound still impresses, which does not really refer to the SACD Version.
The SACD Stereo layer sounds nearly exactly the same as the CD Audio layer. Most tracks have been heavily compressed in the production of the album, so it's not a big surprise that the dynamic is limited. So neither the drums nor the voice did improve in any special way.

This is different on the Multichannel layer though:
The album was remixed and it seems that quite a few of the original reverb and delay settings were modified. The album doesn't seem as widespread as before in my opinion, it sounds more like a room enviroment. Anyway, there's still considerably more instrument seperation on most tracks, than on the stereo layer. The thing is though, that the mix doesn't differ that much from track to track. Some change would've done good to the songs, but it's still a pleasing mix.

Stick to the CD if you want to save money, but any fan of the band or the SACD Medium should get the SACD for the additional MC Mix.

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Review by Rudy A-Traxx January 17, 2007 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Keane songs are OK with me. and now that I bought this SACD because of the two international hits, I discover the other songs and I may like them more and more.

Concerning the Surrounds, I'm a little bit disappointed even though it's not that bad. For me a good multichannel mix is that if you listen separately each channels you'll have the impression to have a light mix or something almost unrecognizable, and when put back together, then you rediscover the original recording.

Here we have the front and the rear channels almost the same. Remixer should listen to mixes like the ones made on SACD like "Dr Chesky's Surround Show" or "Violator" by Depeche Mode. it's like taking a musical bath.
Why is it that these people can't think otherwise than stereo ! Are they brain formated ?

Moreover, the bass seem not distributed to the subwoofer and with my configuration it's quite middle register.

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Review by lutefisk69 November 16, 2007 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I would have not purchased a Keane album had it not been SACD. This being said, I did not have a receiver that would accept the HDMI 1.3 from the audio output until I bought a new one so I had been listening to this CD in my car for quite a while. I really like this as a CD, the songs or good and Keane really does have quite a voice that makes a lot of the songs worth listening too. Once I listed to the SACD I was still quite happy, I would have liked a little more 5.1 mixing, but maybe that was because when I was in my car listening to the CD I thought of how I would have mixed it to bring sounds in certain areas. When I did finaly get this and play it as an SACD I was still really happy, while the song "she has no time" does not live up to what I thought it could have been I am still happy that I bought the SACD version.

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Review by VergeMusicWorks February 17, 2008 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is a great CD as far as the songs, the band, the sound, etc. But, extremely disappointingly, it's not a true, multi-channel, surround remix at all. At least it certainly doesn't seem that way to me. There don't seem to be any discrete items coming out of either of the surround speakers. I've been unable to find any mention or credits for a surround remix engineer. I'm fairly sure that all the record company did was use some software to redirect some of the audio spectrum to the surround channels. I consider that a ripoff. We pay a 200% premium for the "multi-channel" disk and it's not really multi-channel at all. I'm extremely bummed because this is one of my favorite albums. I saw them in concert a couple years ago also. They are a great band with excellent songs and performances. Too bad the record company cheaped out and wouldn't spring for the cost of a proper remix from the original multi-track master. Even worse is what they are doing to the unsuspecting fans (like me) who purchase the disc. For shame.

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Review by Elliotdurand August 4, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is my favorite album of Keane so when I saw the SA-CD version of it I didn't hesitate to buy it. The vocals came from the center speaker backed by the two rear speakers which emit realistic sounds that make you believe Tom Chaplin is singing right in your living room. The back speakers are filled with crisp defined sounds rarely found in 5.1 channel recordings. The left and right frontal speakers deliver instrument sounds accompanied by faded vocals that give a sense of space. The performance is great and the music Keane offers has a compilation of new sounds creating and original genre.

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Review by Benedict February 16, 2009 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is a great album full of great pop songs which are on an even tempo with each other, there are few songs which differ from the formula so what you have is an album which plays well from start to finish without the need to skip any obscure tracks.

The Stereo SACD layer isn't massively different from the CD layer, however, one thing they got right was the imaging. The Stereo SACD layer offers in my opinion a superb voice image putting Tom Chaplin's voice right in the centre of your front L & R speakers almost as if the centre speaker was also active.

Multichannel offers a new dimension to the songs although this could have been realised with a wider dynamic range. I agree with the common opinion that the symbals and drums have a compressy "lossy" sound to them and dont jump out at the listener in any way, however the mix is overall still pleasing to the ear, even more so as the album plays towards the end.

For the most part the mix just simply plays around with the surround channels offering some seperation but not total, as Tom's voice along with other instruments are still very much heard from all speakers. This being said, track 9 - "SUNSHINE" comes alive during the track giving the listener the benefit of better dynamic range offering a more dense sound from the rear and centre speakers and sometimes breathtaking sound in the upper treble during the chorus. Track 10 - "UNTITLED" again gives a nice soundspace with some nice channel interplay.

Good album to have in the collection, dont expect your ears to be put to the test but the above mentioned tracks do give the multi channel some decent credit, still a very compressed album though by SACD standards.

- Benedict

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Review by Ear January 17, 2014 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Sonics:  
Here is anoher disc which has left me a little puzzled, because of the reviews I have read here. I read, that the stereo DSD mix is not massively different from the PCM version present on the CD layer. Well, it might not be massively different, whatever that means to each of us, but is is SIGNIFICANTLY different from the CD layer. MUCH less compressed. And it is just wrong to say, that it sounds almost exactly the same as the CD layer. On my system, on both my players, it was audible from the first note. I just wanted to point that out for people who might have considered this disc but did not buy it because they have a stereo system only. If you come across a copy that is not as expensive and like the music, I would advise you to buy it. The stereo SACD layer sounds much less fatiguing and more relaxed and natural (well, as natural as possible with all the effects and stuff ;))


Best wishes
Ear


Tested on
Denon 3930 via analogue to Denon 3313
and
Denon 2012UD via HDMI to Denon 3313

Yamaha NS - F700 Speakers

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