Review by DPSydBerry April 20, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
|I have to confess that I have not heard the CD version of this album, indeed the only version I am familiar with is the old vinyl fake-stereo 'The Who Sings...' version that I used to have as an import. Possibly this should bar me from reviewing the album; however, this has got to be the single most expensive disc (of any format) that I have ever purchased (a smidgen under £60 in total including postage from Japan, extra VAT for HMRC and a vast 'handling fee' for the bandits at ParcelForce); so it's going to get a review regardless!
The main thing I noticed was that the mono recordings definitely have more 'clout' than the stereo (I got a good sense of the presence of the band in a way my Dad's old Fidelity auto-changer could never have achieved:-) The stereo recordings sound 'flatter' although not in an unpleasant way (more 'polite'; daft as that sounds) The missing overdubs are surprisingly conspicuous, particularly on 'My Generation' and 'A Legal Matter'.
I'm still relatively new to SACD as a format, but I was aware throughout this disc of good, controlled bass reproduction of a depth and presence I've not heard on any CD based system (something I have noticed on virtually all of my pop/rock SACDs. These could never be audiophile recordings, but I felt throughout that I was hearing everything that there was to hear reproduced in as 'natural' a way as possible.
Anyone interested enough to spend the money on this will be familiar with the performances so I'll not go into them beyond saying that I think the version of 'I'm a Man' is the weak spot on the album. The version of 'Circles' sounds like the old single B-side to me and I still reckon it's a bit of a dirge, even in hi-fi:-)
So...I love vinyl, I love stereo and I love multi-channel, but to my mind the mono recordings are by far the best way to experience this album and this SACD presents them immaculately.
I'm still sore at HMRC and ParcelForce though!
Performance **** (sorry, but 'I'm a Man' and 'Circles' lose the star)
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