|Review by Audioflea February 28, 2013 (5 of 8 found this review helpful)
|First-time release of The Doors 6-album catalog on SACD from Analog Productions. Each disc contains both multi-channel and stereo. The multi-channel layer comes from the original 96K, 24-bit files that were originally mixed and mastered for the 2006 DVD Audio Doors/Perception release. For stereo purists, the re-mastered, hi-rez stereo layers on all of the discs are fantastic and have never sounded better. However, in my opinion, it’s the multi-channel presentation that, when done right, takes this music to a whole different level. My reviews are based solely on the quality and fullness of the stage presence of the multi-channel layer of each respective disc in the set.
On the classic 1-10 scale, IMHO, here’s how each disc ranks in quality and fullness of the stage presence of the 5.1 layer. Strange Days (9) The Soft Parade (9), LA Woman (8.5), Morrison Hotel (7.5), Waiting for the Sun (7), The Doors (3)
With regards to multi-channel presentation, this disc is the weakest link in the otherwise pretty strong 6-disc catalog. Not that the sound quality is poor, it certainly has pretty good sonic presence and clarity in the front 3 speakers. But, with few exceptions, the multi-channel arrangement is mostly front channel, front left, and front right. This is just not the immersive sound stage that is offered in the multi-channel layers of the other 5 Doors discs; most of the time the rears are just barely audible.
With that said, I do think that there is a definite uptick in quality over previous CD releases that are out there. For one, even though there is, for all intents and purposes, only 3 active channels, there is some separation of the musical parts within that 3-speaker framework. Some tracks shine a lot more than others, depending on how much of the vocal is separated out & focused in on the center channel; and some tracks definitely have higher recording levels on the vocal than one other tracks.
The tracks that benefit from the 3-channel SACD upgrade most are; “Light my Fire”, “I Looked at You”, “The End Of The Night”, “Take It As It Comes”, and “The End”; which all display a strong vocal presence in the center and surprisingly crisp percussion in the FR & FL.
Unfortunately two of my favorite tracks, “The Crystal Ship” and “Back Door Man”, have really suppressed vocals and are mostly drowned out by the instrumentation that come out of the two side channels. Unless you have the capacity to adjust the relative volume level on your center channel, these tracks are almost better represented in their original stereo format.
At the initial retail of $30, I still recommend it for those who want a 3-channel version, which definitley an improvement over the CD format. Just adjust your expectations slightly if you happen to hear the other 5 Doors SACDs first.
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