Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Rozen Maiden 2


I'm currently enjoying this part two of the first series of Rozen Maiden released this month in the UK.
This sees Jun repair the damaged Shinku, Suiseiseki and her twin sister Souseiseki as they deal with Souseiseki's Master plus the manipulative Suigintou.
In the final three episodes centre around Shinku and Suigintou's final confrontation.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme & Overkill!



No! Not the Election campaign but that's the title of one of several hits by this 80's Australian band rounded up on this compilation well mastered by Mark Wilder on Columbia's Legacy series.

Contrary to the UK Amazon listing it DOES contain Down Under together with Who Can It Be Now, It's a Mistake and many more.

Recommended for 80's pop fans.





A wind is howling at Steve Hoffmans music site and it seems to of come to head with those awfully nice folk-rock singers Simon & Garfunkel following the Audio Fidelity release of their 'Parsley, Sage & Rosemary' album which is advertised on the cover as being from "The original mastertapes".


Trouble is that claim is just demonstrably untrue as it lines up perfectly- and it has been proven by science - to the 1980's Columbia cd issued in the States .

They were given the same digital transfer of a copy tape not an analogue original reel!

All AF have done is what anyone with some knowledge of mastering can do which is to equalize each track for better reproduction.

Unfortunately in a pique of temper the site own nuked one thread and is taking an axe to any critical posts in another oblivious to the knowledge the more you do this rather explained why they used this copy the more credibility is lost and more members drift elsewhere.

It's not that the disc doesn't sound good of what it is and it does use the original mixes which all the issues from the mid nineties onwards don't as Bob Irwin did a really good job remixing them from the multi tracks, rather the attempt to hide the deception that claws many music fans.

Following that I decided to buy this set instead:

















This comprises of the Legacy reissues of Parsley, Sage & Rosemary, The Sounds Of Silence together with Bookends that do sound really good and can be had from Rarewaves for just under GBP £10 shipped compared to GBP £25 for the AF!

I own the 1994 Sony 'Mastersound' issue of Bridge Over Troubled Water which is wounderful sounding and taken from the real analogue masters.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Shana!


I've been watching this - the Region 1 Geneon release of Shana together with the OVA recently while my paws recover.
It was cheaper to get this edition than the almost identical MVM UK Pal colour edition as they source the dubbed version from the States!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

So Red The Rose 2 cd/1DVD set

Arcadia 2Cd & DVD Special Edition tm

Released April 12th in the UK this comes in a clear cheap looking fat box with a slim booklet with just one page devoted to the story of this album and NO lyrics on blurry black text over coloured backgrounds. Not good for the visually impaired!
It's interesting to note that over four titles of this re-issue program we've had three different packaging ideas. Maybe co-ordination isn't the projects strong point?
It been remastered by Andrew Walters at Abbey Road studios who did Raggedy Tiger and S/T.
I have spend quite a bit of time listening to this one and I believe it has some quality!
The basics of the transfer are right with no nasty surprises like mutilated starts or distortion that plagued the last two titles.
For reason explained previously, I am without my trusty XDR tape and am relying on the V0 Mp3 of the last European mastering for comparisons together with vinyl 45's. Not ideal.
Comparing them I would say there is a little compression present noticeable on The Flame and Goodbye Is Forever on this edition but it's not a brickwall job.
The bass is well handled - no bloat present - in fact my only criticism of the EQ is I feel the area around 6-8K is brighter than I'd like by a db and a bit however the mid band is pretty good.

The bonus stuff is nice and not too badly mastered although dare I say it if the ultimate quality is your concern you really want the UK 12" 45's .

I'd give this 3/5 worth it for the bonus material and the DVD but do hold on to that original beermat (if you have one).

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sansa Personal Music Player



















Coming soon is a new personal music player to better integrate with my PC audio needs and increased buying of Downloaded albums.
The history of this integration is a painful one involving buying several years ago a Sony Hi-MD recorder that was meant to enable easy file transfer from cd and downloaded Mp3's but was let down by rubbishy bug ridden software and its inability when connected up to transfer using the original stereo Mindisc standard for compatibility with my home deck with the advantage of automatic track naming which as an R.S.I. survivor would of been a godsend.
Said machine sits gathering dust most days as its own control interface is one of worst ergonomically of any recorder of any type I've ever owned and I struggle to use it with my condition.
Instead I use my Sharp MD portable which sounds really good to play discs recorded on the home deck (a Sony MDS JB940QS) in Stereo (or mono mode) for the best sound quality but to transfer program from PC I need to burn off the content as an audio cd and copy that in real time and then title it up by hand.
I love the format and don't mind a bit of titling but sometimes it would be easier to just transfer the file over to a player and listen to that and with Minidisc generally speaking it's one disc to take out with you for each album you might fancy listening to.
That's where this upcoming Sensa Clip+ player is meant to slot in as it handles Mp3, Wma (Windoze own format), The Open Source Ogg Vorbis as well as the lossless codec Flac which gives full cd quality native. It doesn't do Apples AAC but as I don't use iTunes and its store that's no loss plus with dbPoweramp's batch converter I can convert to Mp3 if someone got me a file in that form.
What it does have going for it is the capacity about 7.36GB after it's file management has taken a bite (or is that byte!) plus the ability to add an extra micro SD type card (up to 16GB) to expand it or slot in a selection of albums ready done for a low price.
If you buy one and for what Amazon are charging it could be just the thing for you I would visit the Sandisk website and download the full manual in American English as the instructions supplied with the player are a bit skimpy.
When you connect it to your computer using a USB to mini USB lead you'll see it as an external device via the usual interface - in Windows 'My Computer'.
Clicking on that to get to 'Internal memory' and then clicking that will get you to the folders when you drag and drop your music to.
I cheated a little and cut and pasted mine to 'Albums' rather than 'Music' as i don't use Windows Media Player and didn't feel liking having to.
If you didn't use Windows Media Player this next bit is critical:
When you have loaded the player use the down key (The one at 'Six o'clock') to go down to 'Folder'. okay that and hunt for 'Albums'. Having found the Album you want, okay that and okay play all for that album.
That way the player finds all the files (songs) in that album in the order you ripped them as the other options are really for those who used Windows Media Player and don't synchronize up right, something I found out the hard way!
The sound quality is very good - the very lowest bass isn't as good as my Minidisc but close lacking the bloatedness often found while the mids and high notes are very smooth on my Sennhesier HD201's driving them well.
If you told your player you lived in North America which I did you defeat that EU inspired obligatory limiter that getting decent sound levels into higher quality less sensitive headphones such as Sennhesier's difficult by cutting out when the voltage goes above a preset level.
Unfortunately the EU bureaucrats didn't understand how loud a pair of headphones go depends on their sensitivity and that varies.Grrr!!!
I find using it pretty intuitive.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter!


Wishing everyone a happy Easter as I just break open this egg!
At least your left with something you can use afterward, eh?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Diamond!

















Recently re-issued with a bonus disc of b sides and BBC concert recordings, this the second album showed Spandau Ballet exploring Jazz-Funk territory with Chant No1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On), Instinction and Paint Me Down for a uptempo clud lp side (tracks 1 through 4). What was the second lp side showed them on tracks like Pharoah looking at less immediate more 'ethnic' based territory.

Like ABC's Beauty Stab, this seemed be a case of an album issued at a tangent to where than fans were at but in hindsight it reminds of of the talent and artistic vision they had.
It's nice to be able to say a re-mastered cd does sound really good and on this disc it is.
Word to the wise: Don't buy the 2010 remaster of Journeys To Glory re-mastered by Andy Walters as it's sounds awful.