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  Audio Fidelity -
  AFZ5 203
  Grover Washington Jr.: Winelight
  Grover Washington Jr.
Track listing:
  1. Winelight
2. Let It Flow (For "Dr. J")"
3. In the Name of Love
4. Take Me There
5. Just the Two of Us
6. Make Me a Memory (Sad Samba)
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Submitted by LizardKing
Related titles: 2

Reviews: 2

Review by Marpow March 14, 2015 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Grover Washington Jr.: Winelight Hybrid Stereo/5.1 Multichannel

Now we are talking. Great, Great disc.

My Audio Fidelity #0942. Originally a 1980 release that received Grammy award for best Jazz fusion performance in 1982.

Performance: Solid as they come. Great musicians including Steve Gadd on drums and who could argue with the man himself doing vocals on Just The Two Of Us. Six tracks, all instrumental except Track 5 with Withers on vocals. Grover's sax is a constant key element in all tracks unlike some jazz discs the leader, for lack of a better word, sits back. Grover Washington Jr. never sits back.

Stereo Sonics: Sorry, certainly not as fun and exciting as the 5.1 but that's the point. Stereo separation is superb and has a large sound stage. Bass is tight and clear. Drums and other percussion are beautiful. Room filling sound.

Multichannel Sonics: One of the best discs I have heard. Clearly the center speaker is dominated by the sax. Rear speakers are used throughout providing a complete surround of sound. Other instruments can take there turns moving around. No instrument was mixed to the point of hanging up on one speaker and therefore becoming irritating. I have now become quite experienced at mch listening and the remix personal can be creative, lazy and unwilling to take risks. This AF mix is one of best I have heard, one of, not the best. My only knock would be sometimes the rear right can be a little to active and for my taste a better balance in rear. For instance on one track the guitar just stays at rear right, I would have moved it around a little bit.

Packaging: Well I will start off with this cover would never get voted for best album artwork. Sax, wine and light, OK I get it but....
Typical AF plastic jewel case with outer paper cover. Mini paper booklet with original and present liner notes, two pictures.

This disc is win/win with stereo and MCH. Guests would love the performance and whatever sonic gem you decided to be appropriate. This disc will not gather dust on my shelf.

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Review by duravin March 14, 2015 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I got the Audio Fidelity 5.1 SACD version of Winelight as a throwback to my very first days in digital music. In 1984, I shelled out $800 Canadian ($1668 in 2015 dollars) for a Technics SL P7 CD player. It had no remote, you had to get up and walk over to press "Play". How quaint. The very first CD I purchased was Winelight, not so much because I wanted it but because in those early days there were only about 20 titles of anything on silver discs. It ain't easy being an early adopter.
Comparing the CD layer of old and new my main impression is that the new one is louder, not really better when matched for volume. What I have always assumed is Steve Gadd's kick drum still sounds weird. The 2015 CD layer is advertised as "2-Channel CD Stereo" I'm guessing that is plain old stereo. The SACD stereo layer cleans up the bass but the kick drum still sounds weird. The liner notes mention that the Aphex Aural Exciter was used in mixing the stereo layer of Winelight. My 1980 LP copy of The Long Run (Eagles) makes specific mention that the Aphex Aural Exciter was NOT used to mix that album, maybe there is a reason for this. Just saying.
Now onto the multichannel. From the first note on Marcus Miller's bass it is a holy crap night and day difference. Yes, the mix is different so you hear a lot more synth keyboards and Eric Gale's guitar seems more up front, even when he is in the right rear. But the bass has weight and harmonics, little arpeggios and fills that I completely missed in the stereo mix. Oh, and that is a kick drum with a plosive and skin sound, mystery solved. The production credits mention DVD-Audio authoring so I'm guessing the 5.1 is from PCM transfers, but that's not a knock against the transfer. It sounds good, no qualifiers. I even listened to the multichannel through my stereo pre-amp and it is very listenable, the bass is killer and the sax is fine as the centre channel is used as a fill not for single instruments.
As a final note, it is curious and a bit sad that my very first CD was made in Hanover West Germany as there were no CD pressing plants in North America in 1984. I note the sticker on the 2015 SACD indicates it was made in Austria. I believe there are no longer any SACD pressing facilities in North America. Plus ca change.

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