Friday, 27 November 2015

Hold on tight

The Electric Light Orchestra and I go back in time buying the 45's back in the day and later on getting a good number of their albums on cd.
Like with a number of other artists, recently their has been an attempt to bypass some of restrictions of conventional cds, a technology that goes back the late 1970's by issuing in higher resolution 24 bit downloads and I obtained a number recently.
When it comes to compilations there's been a good number starting from 1979's Greatest Hits that in some ways is remains the perfect summary of the 1973-77 singles and double or even triple cd sets.
The one I remember getting in 1997 was Light Years a mid price British double which was jam packed full of material including edits, in no particular order and suffered from being too consistently loud and bright so I relented and got the original Greatest Hits album on a cheap cd.

That did leave missing a selection of the later hits as most miss off anything from the  Zanadu soundtrack that gave us three hit singles and to which the title song had been re-recoded in 1991 for the Flashback cd  box set that was criticized for it's sound quality and chopping off the very start and ends of a number of tracks.
The one pictured above most would consider the best of the bunch having most of the essential tracks including the very early tracks and was very well mastered by Vic Ansini in 1995 who did excellent work on a number of Columbia projects like the Simon & Garfunkel remasters.

It was only issued in North America and recently I've ordered a copy to fill those gaps and having the European Zanadu soundtrack, the missing tracks from it aren't so much of an issue with me.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Viewing the web

Cool dampish start to the day here.
This week I've finished putting my Japan albums on Micro SD card in lossless to listen to om my portable Fiio X1 player, a best buy in the sounds great for the money stakes.
Getting to the meat of this entry, my Dell Netbook is a bit slow browsing the web hindered by it's sluggish Intel Atom processor although I like it's small size for writing blog entries and the like on.
I run Pale Moon for Atom on it as that's a fairly light weight variant of Firefox which is usually what I use but was looking at alternatives not least to Chrome which is noticeably slower on it.
Actually I found a version of it that I'm I'm currently testing with a view to replacing Chrome by ultimately.
Called slimJet, it's a very light browser that is based on Chrome in its Open Source form (Chromium) but rather than using a lot of plugins that tend to be slow and buggy, many of these features are intergrated directly in the browser which works better.
It's also easier to customize, something Chrome just isn't designed to do preferring to give you it's own minimalist design and doesn't send information (your data) to Google's advertising world although you can use Chrome extensions and plug-ins if you wish from the Chrome web store without issue.
I think over the years I've used most of the main browsers such as Internet Explorer 6,7,8,10 and 11, Firefox from version 2.0.1 onward and Chrome just seeing them get bloated or stuck down one development alley that didn't sit well with me.
The issues with Flash plugin's and Firefox at times drove me made on social media where post may contain embedded video or animation just crashed.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Kim Wilde Part II

Following on from last weeks entry, one bugbear for many cd based fans is that her first three albums have only had sporadic available in cd form and the last set of individual remasters done by Cherry Pop severely reduced the contrast between the softest and loudest sounds and many of bonus tracks were sourced from less than clean records.
I had bought the first album as early as 1990 on cd issue but it took ages to track down a copy of 1982's Select and when I did it was the German edition with what looked like a photocopied front insert inaccurately cut out.
In late December of 2014 as part of Warner Bros acquisition of the Parlophone catalogue of EMI, they embarked on operations to monetize it and added a series of Three cd boxed editions from the catalogue and Kim's original Rak albums featured in it entitled The Triple Album Collection.
I was interested to hear how they would sound as they had been last mastered around 2009 for EMI but only issued as downloads, the cd rights going to Cherry Red who did there own.
Actually have just gotten them they are good and it is a real pity they have just two sided card covers.
Catch as Catch Can sounded much smoother and less harsh with better dynamics on this edition compared to the Cherry Red disc of 2009 and further testing of the other two should they while sounding slightly different  to my original cd issues, did sound very close indeed with the small high frequency drop on Ego on the Select album being corrected keeping much of the original dynamics.
While this set lacks any bonus tracks such as b sides and singles versions, I feel this is really good value for money being available for around GBP £10 from Amazon Marketplace sellers.
The quality is very good indeed.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Kim Wilde

I'm getting this post done like now cos I'm gonna very busy in the next few days with things that are of greater importance to me to do.
Of the many female vocalists that I grew up, none was better timed that that of the rise of Hertfordshire, Englands, Kim Wilde whose career I followed in magazines, tv shows and on record that in time gave way to newer formats.
By around the late 80's some of her recordings from the early 80's had come out on cd, firstly with that most useful set of 45 mixes The Very Best of issued on vinyl in 1984 and gaining it's cd debut in late 1987 that included Boys that wasn't on her first album.
By 1989 the first two had come out but most places didn't stock 1982's Select but carried her 1981 debut "Kim Wilde" that contained the hit 45 that started it off, Kids In America which I bought on sight being very impressed by how it sounded although the system I had wasn't as good as my current ones but it took more years and persistence to track down a German copy of Select on cd for View From a Bridge, Take Me Tonight  and Cambodia.
I bought the 2009 Cherry Red re-issue of Catch as catch Can which remains elusive and extremely expensive in it's 1990 EMI Fame issue.
The 1984 through 1992 era on MCA was easier as I bought these during the mid 80's in the UK although one went sticky on the top layer but plays fine, 1986's Another Step in it's 1987 second issue with bonus tracks and a different cover.
To me that's the album and I also saw the lp version with a bonus 12" packed in with it at the time and even bought the 80's tastic VHS stereo video album which is 'hot' at 15 certificate rated!
1988's Close was never off my cd player and copy on Maxell's XLII type II tape lived in my Aiwa auto reverse portable tape player while on the move.
That album contained Hey Mr Heartache, You Came and the smash hit Never Trust a Stranger.
That cd also became sticky but wouldn't play right so after several years my UK Nimbus pressed copy got replaced by a Japanese one which did play but sounded thin.
During the last week I've been transferring her albums to micro sd card to play on the Fiio so took a chance getting a used European MCA copy.
This sound pretty much like my Nimbus UK pressed copy with the tight deep bass and depth in the sound I so missed minus the sticky top coating so it's that version that's now on sd card.
For £1.59 including mailing, it's the cheapest upgrade I've experienced in eons!