HiRez Poll Benson, George - BREEZIN' [SACD/DVD-A]

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Rate the SACD/DVD-A of George Benson - BREEZIN'


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JonUrban

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Please post your comments on the 5.1 release of George Benson's "Breezin'" album, first available from Rhino as a DVD-A (May 2001), and later released a decade later by Audio Fidelity (August 2014) as a hybrid SACD.

The DVD-A (now out of print) contained 2 bonus tracks not included on the SACD, while the SACD contains new Stereo mastering by Steve Hoffman and retains the original 5.1 mix by Al Schmitt, mastered by Doug Sax.

While posting your impressions, please indicate what format your comments are based on. Note that all comments prior to post #30 were created prior to the SACD being released.

THE WARNER ARCHIVE/RHINO DVD-A RELEASE (May 2001)

Breezin DVDA Front.jpg
Breezin DVDA Back.jpg



THE AUDIO FIDELITY SACD RELEASE (August 2014)

Breezin Front.jpg
Breezin Back.jpg
 

Cai Campbell

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A thoroughly enjoyable disc, even if it is somewhat a of a guility pleasure. I found the surround mix to be exteremely satisfying. What can I say? I love it! 9 points here.
 

radiodaddy

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Sorry, can't say I liked the way this one turned out. I know the original about as well as any record I own (I also have the MFSL vinyl), and was really looking forward to the high-res treatment. The surround version is drenched in echo - a questionable choice for an album that had a dry, airy, and precise mix. Compare it to "Winelight" or "Imaginary Day" to hear how good this genre can sound in surround when treated with respect. I gave the disc three points because the two-channel high-res mix is OK - not a stunner by any means, but at least it's listenable.
 

ChristopherLees

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not much unique stuff in the centre channel.
most of the music is in the front left and right and subwoofer.

Then you add more echo than a capitol beatles lp from Dave Dexter
so that it sounds like you're playing the lp in a big hall.

Finally to add a touch of surround realism you throw most of the percussion
tracks (not the drums...just things like a triangle and bongos etc) in the rear speakers.

It seems in a way to be clearer than anything else as the original multitrack tape is used, but because of the echo you tend to be annoyed because this lp could have been soooooo much better.

In short this dvda should have been a no brainer 10, but it's not.
It's ok but it could have been awesome...shame really...

I think Rhino should make their remix engineers listen to a few of the Elton John sacd discs, before they go and do an average job on a landmark release like this.
 

Cai Campbell

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Based on all the negative comments, I went back and gave this another listen. I must say I'm baffled by some the comments here. I do not perceive an abundance of echo or reverb and there is plenty of rear-channel action, much of it very discrete. I find the surround soundfield to fit the music nearly perfectly. This disc is a joy and sounds wonderful! I stand by my original 9 rating.

(y)
 

ChristopherLees

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Cai Campbell said:
Based on all the negative comments, I went back and gave this another listen. I must say I'm baffled by some the comments here. I do not perceive an abundance of echo or reverb and there is plenty of rear-channel action, much of it very discrete. I find the surround soundfield to fit the music nearly perfectly. This disc is a joy and sounds wonderful! I stand by my original 9 rating.

(y)
I wouldn't say this disc is unlistenable..it's a great recording to start with but
when they came to day a surround sound mix of it well............

1)Compared to any cd or lp release of this title the amount of echo used on this dvda is rediculous / enormous.
2)There is virtually nothing in the centre speaker and just percussion effects in the rears.

The stereo MFSL lp is a fantastic piece of vinyl.
This dvda is a letdown in comparison to what the lp versions offered.
A bit like Dark side on sacd after hearing the original quad mix.
 

Cai Campbell

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ChristopherLees said:
1)Compared to any cd or lp release of this title the amount of echo used on this dvda is rediculous / enormous.
2)There is virtually nothing in the centre speaker and just percussion effects in the rears.
I absolutely, positively disagree (except for the center channel comment, but I could care less about the center channel).
 

ChristopherLees

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Cai Campbell said:
I absolutely, positively disagree (except for the center channel comment, but I could care less about the center channel).
well I guess we can agree to disagree!

Personally the centre channel doesn't worry me much either.
and the bass track is fine.

I could almost handle the echo chamber too, since the extra clarity of using the multitrack tape is evident,but I just find it so unnecessary, why go to the trouble of abstracting all that extra detail and clarity , and then just throw echo all over it again.
and there is just little or no damn action in the rears!

I.M.O. you're better off using a QS decoder on the MFSL lp.
 

Cai Campbell

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ChristopherLees said:
I could almost handle the echo chamber too, ... , but I just find it so unnecessary, ... , and then just throw echo all over it again.
and there is just little or no damn action in the rears!

I.M.O. you're better off using a QS decoder on the MFSL lp.
Again, wholeheartedly disagree. And yes, I will most certainly agree to disagree on this one. This title is fantastic and I absolutely do not perceive all this echo you keep talking about. The rears are very active with lots of discrete detail and is not simply percussion fill. This is a well-balanced, well-crafted surround title with beautiful clarity and resolution. A surround-synthesis from stereo could not hope to come close to the presentation of this stellar, overtly discrete DVD-A.
 

ChristopherLees

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Cai Campbell said:
This title is fantastic and I absolutely do not perceive all this echo you keep talking about. The rears are very active with lots of discrete detail and is not simply percussion fill. .
Please tell me at what point on the disc ( min and seconds) into which track
(any track) we get something more than percussion in the rears.

(the echo heard is in complete contrast to the complete lack of echo on the original release).
 

Cai Campbell

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ChristopherLees said:
Please tell me at what point on the disc ( min and seconds) into which track
(any track) we get something more than percussion in the rears.
Start to finish. Disconnect your front speakers and listen to any point you desire.
 

radiodaddy

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Cai -

Have you gone back to the vinyl?

My remark about the echo is a comparison to the original. Heard on its own, perhaps the DVD-A mix wouldn't sound too bad, but stacked up next to the LP, it's undeniable.

Closest comparison I can come up with is the Al Schmitt remix of Diana Krall's "Love Scenes." Took a late-night club date and plopped it down in the middle of a cathedral.

peace,
yrd.
 

Cai Campbell

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radiodaddy said:
Cai -

Have you gone back to the vinyl?

My remark about the echo is a comparison to the original. Heard on its own, perhaps the DVD-A mix wouldn't sound too bad, but stacked up next to the LP, it's undeniable.
I haven't done a side-by-side with the record. I'm not saying there is not echo, I'm just saying I don't notice it (i.e. there is not enough to detract from the listening experience - at all). In fact, dare I say (gasp) that it may actually enhance the surround experience? Blasphemy, I know, but all I can say is that the surround release is thoroughly enjoyable.

If it were simply a fake surround mix, then any echo would be unexcusable. But this not a fake surround mix. It is a fully realized new surround mix (obviously from the multi-track tapes) that is wonderfully executed, echo or no.

As to previous comments about only drums in the rears, I would like to get my hands on that alternate mix. My guess is that it is very rare indeed! Perhaps only released down under? :rolleyes:
 

radiodaddy

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Matter o' taste, really. For me, I'd have liked to hear the soundstage opened up - more air between the instruments - but with the 'dry' sound of the original retained. Benson has such a light touch on the fretboard, and I miss that on the remix. "Winelight" demonstrates that you can have an aggressive, fun surround mix on this genre of music without adding echo. The instruments on that one seem to float in the space around you - gives me chills whenever I put it on.

Afraid I can't offer any insight into the amount of info in the rears of "Breezin'" - only listened to the surround track once (but I'm sure you already knew that...) ;) Probably should go back and give it another spin.

peace,
yrd.
 

Cai Campbell

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radiodaddy said:
Matter o' taste, really. For me, I'd have liked to hear the soundstage opened up - more air between the instruments - but with the 'dry' sound of the original retained. Benson has such a light touch on the fretboard, and I miss that on the remix. "Winelight" demonstrates that you can have an aggressive, fun surround mix on this genre of music without adding echo. The instruments on that one seem to float in the space around you - gives me chills whenever I put it on.

Afraid I can't offer any insight into the amount of info in the rears of "Breezin'" - only listened to the surround track once (but I'm sure you already knew that...) ;) Probably should go back and give it another spin.

peace,
yrd.
Yep, I would tend to agree. Well said. Breezin' coulda been a 10.

Seems like people are tied to the original and don't like too much detraction from it. For example, I've heard complaints that the surround mix of "Tommy" sounds too dry compared to the original, which was wet by comparison. I guess the criticism is reversed here. In either case, I find each a refreshing and illuminating departure from the original, but not to the extent that the original is compromised. The beauty (for me) is, you can always go back to the original!

Could the surround mix for Breezin' have been done better? Probably, but not by much, in my opinion.
 

Rudy

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OK, I bit, and finally bought this one. I've enjoyed this one mainly for the music and the two bonus tracks. I found the surround mix to be a bit too vague for my taste--too diffuse in the rear, probably from the reverb. Just glad I can play the 2-channel version when I feel like hearing the original.
 

dr. simple

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I don't listen to this one much, although I used to wear out my cassette copy when I was studying jazz guitar in college twenty years ago. So last night I pulled out this DVDA, and honestly I couldn't even make it through half of the title track before I switched it to the hi-res stereo layer, which is something I practically NEVER do. It sounded TONS better. The reverb is ridiculous on the 5.1 mix.

Bummer. What a missed opportunity.
 
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