Review by trich727 June 26, 2011 (5 of 12 found this review helpful)
|Hmmm, a tough review. Granted, the original cd release was crap, but the Virgin remaster was a great improvement. Having said that, I decided to pit the two against each other; Virgin vs. SHM-SACD. Also at the same time, I'm breaking in a brand new SACD player, a Sony SCD-XA5400ES.
To keep things fair, I'm doing this on headphones jacked directly into the Sony, so as all the electronics and connections are identical. Even the break in period will not play a part, as the only difference will be which laser is used by the Sony.
First, let me say both cds are very musical and pleasant. Knowing the Sony has incredible Redbook reproduction, I started with the Virgin remaster, listening to the entire album. Then, I played the SHM-SACD. Very little difference, although I know the brain has almost no ability to remember subtle sonic differences. So I decided to take it track by track (in some cases several times switching back and forth).
Other than a couple of songs where I felt the Virgin remaster actually out performed the SACD slightly; I Got The Blues and Moonlight Mile (vocals a bit veiled, and mix a little muddy), the rest of the CD was too close to call. But that is on an SACD player known for both excellent Redbook and SACD sound.
If you have the original release, then by all means, get either the Virgin remaster or the SACD. If you have the Virgin remaster and it doesn't sound great, maybe you should look at your system.
As a follow up on 07/02/2011; I never read prior reviews before I post one. I don't want what I say to be biased by what other reviews have said. Now I have read the previous review, and I have played both discs on a cheap SACD player, a Pioneer DV-45-A, through a good but reasonably priced Altec Lancing speaker system. The system I use while sitting at my computer, musical, but not colored.
My findings are sililar on either system. I do not find the cd a "bit dry" on either the Virgin or the SHM-SACD. I find them both compelling, and the only way I can put it, is "toe tappingly good". Yes, this is a thing I look for when comparing discs. If I'm not getting into a disc as much as the one I'm comparing it to, then something is wrong, even if I can't identify it. I have found after 25 years of being into hi-end audio, that "toe tapping" is a real indicator of an improvement, or not.
So, being as the previous reviewer said "dry", and I find the Virgin remaster actually warm for a Redbook cd, even on a cheap SACD player. Yes, you can over-drive your ears into anything sounding good if you beleive it will sound better. That doesn't make it true. Even on my cheapest system, at reasonable listening levels, both the Virgin and SHM-SACD are great sounding discs. If it doesn't sound great at regular volumes, over powering your ears is hardly the answer. Tom
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