Review by Solo man September 21, 2014 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
|I wanted to start off by saying I have listened to this sacd over 100 times and this says a lot since I listen to music for about 3-4 hours a day. I no longer listen to the redbook cd and it is still a nice transfer but like others have said, the bottom end and the upper registers are not overemphasized in this SACD. As a result, the instruments are more natural sounding and good if you want to listen to it more than once in a session without feeling fatigued. This is important to me as I am trying to build my SACD collection so that I can listen with a smooth, clear and musical presentation.
This SACD is mastered by Doug Sax and Robert Hadley as described inside. Now what I heard is great imaging that is not too forward but enough to find the separation. The soundstage is upfront like a performance and wide enough but don't expect a Pink Floyd type presentation. The bass is tight and low but not as low in Holly Cole " Temptation" In my opinion, this SACD is a more subdued and a smoother presentation than others. Is it organic and do the vocals hang in the air; yes!
The volume is lower than the Redbook CD and I was happy with that because it takes away the harshness which I found a little in the CD version. Her upper registers had some sibilance, as well a tad little on the strings in the CD version. This SACD the strings sound more natural. I wondered why it sounded lower in volume so I did some research. In an interview with Doug Sax, he says, "The CD transfer will be done at the highest recorded level to compete in that world." This quote is found here:
Doug Sax also mentions in the above link that no noise reduction was utilized as you are getting a nice raw sound. Remember the days when you could press a button on your deck called Dolby NR and it just smeared the sound but everything in this SACD is separated especially her vocals.
In the 2nd track," Anyone Who Had A Heart", the hiss is softer than the CD version but is still present without taking away the beauty of this song. Her version of, " The Look Of Love" is presented differently with the instruments being less pronounced especially the piano compared to Diana Krall's version. Is it better? No but certainly different and her upper registers add character to this track. My head instantly bobs from the first note of, " Breakfast In Bed" and is my favourite track on this Sacd. The strings is natural sounding with the control on the twangs in check. Such a cool beat in this song and definitely my favourite track. My Head bobs harder as I listen to " Willie and Laura Mae Jones" , the guitar sounds more dynamic and blends well with her voice. Now my head sways side to side in, "I don't want to hear it anymore" which has got some soul with her voice here.
Finally, those who have the CD version but can't decide on the SACD, I feel this might be more enjoyable with its natural sound, smooth and clear presentation. It just has that one step above the CD version and Shelby Lynne is very talented. Can she wail like Sarah Brightman or have her technical prowess. No! But she has a unique character in her vocal that you will remember and will draw you in everytime you listen.
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