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Reviews: James Taylor: JT

Reviews: 7

Review by Tom March 3, 2003 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The sonics are reference quality, just like Taylor's Hourglass. I also like most of the selections. I particularly like Traffic Jam. If forced to choose between the two albums, I prefer the Hourglass performance, but only by a hair.

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Review by ddarch88 May 13, 2003 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is my first James Taylor SACD. The Multi-channel listening expereince got off to a rocky start with "Your Smiling Face". The vocal was very much lost in the center channel. Comparing it to lp and redbook, it was the worst version I'd ever heard. Thankfully, from there, things just got better and better. Taylor's albums are all recorded with care, and that is displayed stunningly in places. The three absolute standouts are "Secret o' Life", "Terra Nova" and "Traffic Jam." In "Life", Taylor's guitar work is pristine and sounding better than I have ever heard it on a recording. (I've seen him live four times.) Each time I listen, I cannot get over the resonance in the strings of the guitar. "Terra Nova" has always been a choral favorite of mine, at the end wife-at-the-time Carly Simon offers a multi-track harmony that just washes over you in multi-channel surround. The final notes toward the climax rival anything else I have heard through my SACD player. Interestingly, I have always listened to that song with so much anticipation of the ending that I don't appreciate the first four-fifths of the song. The SACD version pulls me in sooner than ever. "Traffic Jam" is just a blast in MCH! So much depth to the rhythm, and a playfulness to the vocal placement. Listen carefully to the "rearview mirror" part! Other songs that come thru strongly are "Bartender's Blues" and "There We Are", but this is definitely worth buying for the three songs I reviewed above. Oh, one side note, in stereo mode, "Your Smiling Face sounds just fine.

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Review by toptentwist July 22, 2003 (1 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I kind of disagree with the first review about the center channel.

But I realize my set-up is wierd because I have three of the exact same
full range speakers up front - and my goal is to replace the rear speakers
with two more of the same.

The recommended set-up is 5 equally matched full range speakers.

I'd say I was scared to upgrade my rear speakers because they are
rarely used - but I tend to think that won't happen. I'm more
scared that the center channel will disappear over time because
mixing engineers assume that most people have a center channel
optimized for movie dialogue.

For example, I'm not happy about the comments included with the Pet
Sounds multichannel mix. I realize that a good stereo mix can
create a phantom center channel - but a discrete center channel
is a real treat if used creatively.

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Review by Cornan September 6, 2007 (2 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
For most or all of this album, James Taylor's voice is mixed to the center channel only.

For those of us with one of the Sony SACD car units (MEX-DV2000 or XAVW1) with a limited center channel speaker, or a home system with a similarly limited center channel speaker, this album sounds "a bit odd". I have the Clarion 1/2 DIN center channel speaker, which has a limited frequency range, so having his voice only coming from that speaker really didn't work.

In the "looking in the rear view mirror" part of Traffic Jam (one of my all-time favorite short songs) unfortunately the "clever" mixing was handled a bit crudely - his voice just jumps back to the rear channels, and at a relatively low level, so that even if you're waiting to hear it, you might just miss it!

I wish Gorilla was out on SACD - I still have a quadraphonic version which sounds great.

But this is still a great album, especially if you have a full range center channel or no center channel speaker.

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Review by skytag September 11, 2008 (1 of 8 found this review helpful)
I can't imagine having a multichannel system with a full range center channel speaker. So much important information is fed to that speaker both in multichannel music and move soundtracks that it's very important to have a full range speaker for that channel.

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Review by BuLLiTT September 13, 2008 (0 of 5 found this review helpful)
Only to add to the discussion mentioning centre channels, I've used a sub that is dedicated to the centre channel only (the centre speaker sits atop so no more 'floor space' is used with thick hard rubber mat in-between) and used in cojunction with a velodyne SMS has seamlessly integrated with my large fronts. Obviously if one has the space then using 5 of the same speakers is ideal. Sorry to 'hijack' this thread as I have not listened to this SACD.

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Review by The Mule May 12, 2012 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This disc sounds fine, but not nearly worth the price for multi-channel vs. MoFi's stereo SACD. There are a few songs (like 3-4) where the surround sound is very cool and what I was hoping for (like Carly Simon's voice going around the room on one track). However, the majority of this album just isn't worth the price.

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