Thursday, 29 October 2015

There goes the neighborhood

Here we go a week on from the enforced rest edition and I'm slowly recovering from this rotten head cold and associated cough that is stuck down my tubes.
Meanwhile continued on in the enforced rest mode, I copied a bunch of Diana Ross albums to a micro sd card from cd and re-downloaded a few that had gotten lost with the demise last year of my previous laptop of which one now had the option of very high bite rate AAC downloads rather than plain old Mp3 from the stores locker which tend to sound better.
Talking of that old laptop, a few of you how much I like stuff along the Eagles,Don Henley, Glen Frey and Joe Walsh direction and how I'd filled in some of the missing albums over the last year I didn't get around to backing up.
Dig the tank picture!
The origins of my Joe Walsh collection were from various sites that had the downloads on although I did get the various 'audiophile' editions of his cds at cost, but many of his albums are hard to find in cd form.
I tracked a few down on iTunes in their better sounding Mastered for iTunes versions but until recently this one escaped me as it wasn't available at any reputable store such as  7Digital or Amazon either.
Released in 1981, shortly after he'd left the Eagles, it was his fifth solo album and the home of the 45 'A Life of illusion' recorded as early as 1973 but only completed for this album which only got as far as a top twenty placing.
It features former Eagles  band mates Timothy B Schmidt  and Don Felder playing and concludes with 'You Never Know' an angry swipe at the Eagles band management company.
This was recently re-released digitally by Rhino/Warners and I as able to get the download from iTunes after a bit of consenting to the new customer agreement which does sound quite a bit better than the mushy Mp3 version I had before.

Now playing "Who's Better, Who's Best" by the Who.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A little bit of enforced rest.

I'm not too good this week with a bad cold and that so I'm having to stay offline to rest me eyes as trying to stare at the laptop was they feel 'heavy' is bad for me so I'm listening  to music rather more.
Last night I listened to Paul McCartney's All The Best Compilation from 1987 and a couple of albums by Tom Petty who I like a lot on my Fiio portable music player as it's easier than trying to post a cd in a tray while sneezing.
Talking of Paul McCartney I do have the HD downloads of Tug Of War which is a remix and 1983's Pipes Of Peace.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Bowie-2015 remastered cds part II

I did pick up the issues of David Bowie, The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory and Pin Ups off which were actually remastered this year by Ray Staff.
As with all the post 1990 issues they keep the original lp sleeves rather than 1972's RCA era re-issue sleeves that used Ziggy era pictures to resell these to the 'glam rock' audience which to me always was a misleading as these albums are more hippy folk/rock albums.
Having listened to them all I can say they sound better than the West German RCA using better tapes and having good tone balance decisions when it comes to equalizing to make the most of the tapes with wide dynamic ranges.
If you have the RCA's you may be satisfied with them but there's no need for younger fans to go hunting for expensive very long out print cds for these four titles.

Diamond Dogs Redux
My main copy on cd of this dystopian musical creation based on George Orwell's 1984 is the West German RCA cd from around 1984/5 and is the home of such 45's as Rebel Rebel, 1984 and Diamond Dogs. It also was the first album without the Spiders from Mars.
The description of how this cd sounds on music forums is 'dark', I'd say it was the sound of significantly high frequency loss with some alignment errors leaving it sounding 'lumpy'.
There isn't a universally approved later edition although the Japanese for US cd is much brighter although the other big difference is the West German breaks the songs into the groupings of the original UK lp and the Japanese cd all all others makes every song and intro a separate 'track'.
The Hifi people like the Japanese RCA but then at over £30 per copy as and when you see one, it's quite expensive.
It's been several years-make that over a decade-since I heard the 1990 remaster in it's UK form, a good number of which are equalized different compared to the Ryko versions and picked up a mint copy to demo.
This copy has much better high frequencies and is clear is from a much better tape and while being a bid midrange centred does have reasonable bass that those with tone controls can add  by a slight boost if you find yourself wanting deeper bass.
It certainly is more musically involving to listen to and will be my main listening copy until the next phase of the Bowie remastered campaign is released.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Bowie-2015 remastered cds

The first in the series of six re-mastered David Bowie cds  arrived the other day being related to the Bowie Five Years box set for Parlophone/Warners.
As the new disc of Ziggy Stadust (and the .....) is a fold down of the 2003 surround sound mix I'm skipping over that one having the 2012 stereo remaster from the original masters as I've no real use for that.

Aladdin Sane, his 1973 collections of mostly originals is usually overlooked and is a personal favourite of mine having the original UK RCA lp and probably is a better advert for Davids 'Glam' period than Ziggy or Hunky Dory.
This new cd actually uses the 2013 re-master by Ray Staff who cut a number of his albums for lp.
The album was the last one with the Spiders being the home to Drive In Saturday and Jean Genie as well as a remake of The Prettiest Star although the track I like the most is Lady Grinning Soul.
Whatever some hyper critical sorts might say actually this is a very good remaster with a full smooth sound with the piano sounding correct something the much talked about RCA cd from the dawn of cd era doesn't quite manage although it was pretty good going by my West German copy.
The only negative is a small drop in the loudest to quietest  volumenoticed more on Aladdin Sane than most of the other tracks but I rather suspect had you not got the lp or that RCA original cd you wouldn't be any the wiser and certainly this issue sounds better in all other ways than either the early 90's EMI/Ryko remaster or Peter Mews 1999 editions.
If you have them, you benefit from this edition, if you have the RCA perhaps not although the 'tone' I feel is fuller and that's a bigger thing to me than absolute dynamic range so I can see myself playing this copy more.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Bowie -The Singles Collection

While enjoying the HD 192/24 downloads of his Five Years set of the first six albums I thought I'd blog about this.
At one time when it came to compilations it was fairly straightforward you had the Greatest Hits for just that or best ofs that mixed them with b sides and tracks only on album like the Beatles 1962-1966 and 1967-70 doubles.
David Bowie has had a quite a few over the years and being an artist who had hit 45's and 'radio hits' existing on album his from the get go were like that starting from 1976's ChangesOneBowie and the 1981 after the event ChangesTwoBowie sets which were not so satisfactory and had a brief appearance in the early days of the Compact Disc.
The one most are probably familiar with is 1991's ChangeBowie which was issued by Ryko in North America and EMI in the UK and rest of the world which had four extra tracks on the lp as typically the cd was of the long playing time single disc sort event though the lp was a double.
That isn't a bad compilation although like much of his catalogue hasn't been well mastered during the cd era but does suffer than the decision to put an well after the event version of Fame entitled Fame 90 that sticks out like a sore thumb.
This compilation,The Singles Collection, covers much the same period, from 1969's Space Oddity to his last solo album for EMI of this era, 1987's Never Let Me Down 
which is represented by Day In-Day Out but has the advantages well taken advantage of of adding key album tracks and his non studio album tracks  like This Is Not America.
Fame on this album is the original version which is always a gain and while his late 90's Best Of series covering 1969-1974, 1974-1979 and 1980-1987 have alternate mixes and b sides, they suffer from loud mastering that so reduces the variation in loudness and sounds a bit edgy.
In the absence of anything else intelligently compiled in chronological order, this one gets my nod of approval.