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  07243 5386012 7
  Deep Purple: Machine Head
  "Machine Head"

Deep Purple
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Reviews: 15 show all

Review by Audiophilander June 11, 2003 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
There isn't much more that one can add information-wise to the reviews already presented here except to note that to my ears this presentation is much MUCH better than the version released on the other Hi-Rez format; this is based on a cursory comparison of the stereo tracks under admittedly less than optimum conditions (i.e., sound level matching was nigh onto impossible switching between my Anker modified SONY CE775 SACD Player and it's unarguably a better performer than my stock Panasonic RP91). That said, two critical things stood out in the comparison that should not have been impacted by the performance issues and sound level matching: 1) the stereophonic imaging present on the original album is almost non-existant on the Warner DVD-A, and 2) the visceral impact is substantially greater on the SACD than has been coaxed out of the analogue source tapes on all other digital mediums to date.

Is Machine Head perfect? Of course not, but regardless of the format this album has never been perfect. Just like Ritchie Blackmore hitting that one sour note in his famous "Smoke On The Water" solo Machine Head, its the minor imperfections which serve to make this album the enduring classic it is. To remove such imperfections would be tantamount to destroying the beauty of the original image that still influences countless millions to indulge in air guitar solos or secretly genuflect whenever those first three notes are played on the radio. This is why hearing the album as it was originally released in all it's analogue glory is a real treat. The SACD, which unfortunately is only available as an import sourced from Europe (EMI not having been completely gobbled up yet by the DVD-A consortium), is VERY analogue-like in that it has much of the warmth, beefiness and depth of the original LP. If there's a caveat, it's that the age of the mastertapes may be responsible for a little of the original LP's impact being sacrificed, noticeable in the slightly diminished echo effects in the decay of Ian Paice's high-hats in the closing fade of "Smoke On The Water" for instance, but that's nit-picking. Conversely, just listen to the tight delivery of Roger Glover's bass run in "Pictures Of Home" to realize that Machine Head NEVER sounded so rich or full.

Finally, to deviate slightly from the fine reviews already presented here, I have no problem with the extras having been presented as surround tracks only. For many years I've wanted to hear this album in stereo and with an LP quality analogue presentation without the significant drawbacks imposed by vinyl. EMI has successfully done this and went so far as to include the original analogue 1972 four channel surround mixes from the ill-fated LP based surround format. While "When A Blind Man Cries" is an excellent track, it isn't a very good fit for the remaining recordings on Machine Head, IMHO. However, it does work as an extra track, presented for the first time in surround for those interested in multi-channel. In the final analysis, this is very close to being a benchmark hard-rock recording for SACD, which should be more readily available than it is in spite of the obvious liscensing and format war issues. If we were allowed "half-measures" I would give the sonics 4 1/2 stars due to that niggling nit-pick over the diminished decay from Ian Paice's drums, but it is balanced by the Hi-Rez clarity, the imaging, depth and fluidity which creates the analogue "feel" of this release.

In short, highly recommended!


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Review by veltri December 27, 2004 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Rock music can sound amazing on SA-CD. The energy of this performance is showcased better than ever. Previous CD versions I have heard were always missing something and I always came away somewhat disappointed even before SA-CD was part of my life. The SA-CD version is not missing anything. As detailed in the liner notes, the band took great care in choosing the location of their recording sessions in order to have the best acoustics. That attention to detail is rewarded in this reproduction.

I listen mostly to the MCH mix. Bass and vocals are prominent in front. Bass is very full and is used as a lead on many songs. This is a quad mix that doesn't use the center channel but thankfully does use the LFE. Guitars are often only in the rears so larger rears will sound more complete than satellites. On some SA-CD's guitars in the rear speakers distract me because the location seems to be in back of my head, but on this SA-CD each speaker gets a separate instrument so the sound is not in back of you, but coming from each side.

This SA-CD is one of the most enjoyable music experiences I have had.

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Review by Toni May 20, 2004 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
One of the best rock albums ever, original Machine Head contains seven amazing tracks. Now this SACD has original analog Quadro mixes transferred to DSD plus one bonus track and two Glover's remixes from '97. Add to this very stylish and informative booklet, every DP fan (and any other music fan) should do themselves a favor and buy this. Blackmore's solo on "Highway Star" is worth alone listening this classic.
After hearing this album on LP and CD so many times before, I was amazed about the clariness and extra detail found on SACD. Multichannel mix is aggressive, guitars and hammond coming from rear channels from time to time. Nevertheless this suites the album just fine.
Great music and great sonics, most highly recommended.

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