Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Another release by Audio Fidelity another internet battle of the wills as mastering engineer Steve Hoffman who worked on this title recently gets arrowed online.
Frankly as someone who who just loves music and wants to hear it as good as possible I get sick and tired of this posturing which is why I left one site as the only thing that I'm bothered about is 'is it good' and 'is it worth my money'.
There have been many compilations by Heart issued by Epic/Sony covering the 70's and early 1980's and Capitol covering the more commercially successful period from 1985 onward but many of these coincided with the "Loudness Wars" where every new issue sounded louder and more like a wall of noise.
This disc is a remastering of a compilation put out originally in 1998 that featured one new track Strong, Strong Wind and a great selection of 16 outstanding cuts for their Epic/Portrait and Mushroom Records albums from 1976's Little Queen to 1983's Passionworks. an album reissued a few years back by England's BGO label that we talked about here.
Because of my negative experiences of albums such as Capitol's These Dreams -The Greatest Hits that only lived on my shelf for short period for the 'too loud sound' before it met the garbage can, I passed on the original and picked up the "Essential Heart" which sounds good and covers both eras instead figuring this was an album I didn't need.
This remastered version does generally speaking sounds pretty good although there are a some differences in the average levels between tracks where Mr Hoffman decided to leave alone rather than level them up, maybe adding a touch of compression too. Each to their own.
Personally I prefer this approach as it keeps the difference between the softest and loudest passages in the track intact although you may want to turn up the volume a little on the odd track.
The strong point to the sound on this release is the midband which does really enhance your appreciation of the Wilson Sisters vocal talents. This is one cd that does justice to them working well as a introduction to those early recording. For the £10 plus shipping I paid I considered it good value.

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