HiRez Poll Carpenters - SINGLES 1969-1981 [SACD]

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Rate the SACD of Carpenters - SINGLES 1969-1981


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JonUrban

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What do y'all think? Was it worth the wait? How does it compare to the Q8! :eek:


 

JonUrban

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I just spent a few minutes with the track "YESTERDAY ONCE MORE", comparing the '70s quad reel mix to the new SACD version. I put both on my PC and listened to the tracks very carefully. (I also posted this at the A&M Corner)

First off, and I asume that this is not surprising, the piano part is totally different. In the intro, it is a bit "fancier", with some transition chords thrown in to give it more of a complex sound (rather than just pounding chords). At the end, the "chord piano" is totally gone, and replaced with a higher, more difficult part.

Karens voice is solo in the center speaker/channel. Richard is not there. You can hear her breathe and her voice is totally exposed, but this just makes you listen in awe! She is also in all 4 other channels, which puts her in the center of the mix. If you solo the rears, you still have Karen. No singalong track here!

Richards vocal parts have been dropped way down in the mix. In the quad version, you can hear him in the rears as plain as day, on the "Shooby Doos" and the chorus. On the SACD, in the rears and in the fronts, he can only be heard if you listen for him. I am not sure why he did this, as I though he did a good job on this one.

There has been an echo added to the background vocals, and it creates a wide soundfield. There is a harp (I think) or electric keyboard that is heard in the second verse, and on the SACD it is now crystal clear. On the quad mix, it is less pronounced.

Overall, I think this new mix is great. Some hate added echo, but in this case I think it works. I have to listen to the rest of the SACD, but so far, it's "thumbs up" . Better than I thought, and had read about.

I won't vote until I hear it all.
 

MIDIQ

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EXCELLENT. A great surround mix. I give it a ten. Having said that, i still prefer the Q8 Quad mixes. But these new mixes are great in thier own way. I am very pleased with it. :)
 

Eggplant

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9.

Reviews here tend to focus on instrument placement within the surround soundfield. I don't like remixes that change the original balance or character, I do very much appreciate sonic updates that strictly affect quality (hiss removal, replacing dated EQ, reverb and effects with cleaner versions). Although certain elements were well-recorded, particularly vocals, Carpenters recordings sounded quite dated even in 1984, when The Singles was released as one of the first CDs. Most cuts sounded hissy and flat, as if played through a pillow. Horn parts that should sound bright and brassy were limp.

With the new SACD, that's all gone. I would rate this disc as one of the most massive cleanup jobs ever, possibly second only to Beach Boys / Pet Sounds. Some parts (piano) appear to have been re-recorded, but most tracks are original. The drums probably are the most changed, now having a wet kick and tasty cymbals replacing mid-bassy boom and lackluster sizzle. The horn parts on Superstar no longer sound lame. And now the vocals, always good before, have had distortion removed and sweetened slightly with what sounds like a digital chorus. What results is something sounding not so much contemporary as timeless -- you'll find yourself NOT thinking about the sonics, and instead focusing on the performances.

I've complained frequently that remix engineers have fear of reverb, and should stop trying to "dry up" old tracks to make everything sound like 2005. Well, be careful what you ask for -- the reverb is laid on thick here. Only one track -- "Only Yesterday", doesn't quite go the full distance in this regard. The liquid, slap-back reverb of the original is recreated quite faithfully but toned down.

Now to the surround aspect. Yes, Tad, I'm afraid you're right. There is a conservative side to this mix. The good news is, it's not that bad. (Can we please remember that A Song for You, containing five big Carpenters hits, is one of the lamest quad mixes ever?) The soundfield is actually quite opened up, lots of rear action (background vocals), mimicking features of some of the better Carpenters mixes. Top of the World sounds very good, and only suffers when I put on the original quad mix from The Singles. What hurts is how Al puts background vocals in the front as well as the rears, and puts Karen more to the center rather than front. This is the sort of stuff found in lots of mixes we all dislike, especially A&M releases.

What's my biggest complaint? The failure to include "A Song for You". I don't think this cut charted, but today it's practically a standard and definitely one of the most popular Carpenters tunes. Unfortunately, the words put a lump in my throat every time I hear it when I think of Karen's untimely end. I'm guessing it does the same for Richard, and he couldn't bear to include it.

And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you

I will, Karen.
 

bmoura

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JonUrban said:
I just spent a few minutes with the track "YESTERDAY ONCE MORE", comparing the '70s quad reel mix to the new SACD version. I put both on my PC and listened to the tracks very carefully. (I also posted this at the A&M Corner)

First off, and I asume that this is not surprising, the piano part is totally different. In the intro, it is a bit "fancier", with some transition chords thrown in to give it more of a complex sound (rather than just pounding chords). At the end, the "chord piano" is totally gone, and replaced with a higher, more difficult part.

Karens voice is solo in the center speaker/channel. Richard is not there. You can hear her breathe and her voice is totally exposed, but this just makes you listen in awe! She is also in all 4 other channels, which puts her in the center of the mix. If you solo the rears, you still have Karen. No singalong track here!

Richards vocal parts have been dropped way down in the mix. In the quad version, you can hear him in the rears as plain as day, on the "Shooby Doos" and the chorus. On the SACD, in the rears and in the fronts, he can only be heard if you listen for him. I am not sure why he did this, as I though he did a good job on this one.

There has been an echo added to the background vocals, and it creates a wide soundfield. There is a harp (I think) or electric keyboard that is heard in the second verse, and on the SACD it is now crystal clear. On the quad mix, it is less pronounced.

Overall, I think this new mix is great. Some hate added echo, but in this case I think it works. I have to listen to the rest of the SACD, but so far, it's "thumbs up" . Better than I thought, and had read about.

I won't vote until I hear it all.
The "original" ('70s) Carpenters Quad mixes were done by A&M Staff (Marv Bornstein, then Director of New Product Development and Quality Control and Bart Chiate, Recording Engineer) so it's not surprising that the 2005 Surround Sound mix is different since it involves Richard Carpenter and Al Schmitt.

I would agree that the new mix turned out very well. Thumbs up on this one!
 

EMB

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An '8'....very well mixed I think, and when one ignores the re-recorded parts--or tries, anyway--it's easy to like the clarity and balance presented here. Won't replace the old Quad mixes, but all things considered, no denying a lot of work and care went into this one....

ED:)
 

JonUrban

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I had a chance to listen to this disc on my "real" audio system, and I have to say that it's a winner. On the whole, the audio is spectacular, Karens voice is clear as a bell, and the surround mix fits the music, IMHO.

Some of the "old quad mixes", well, frankly, they are not that great, while others are quite nice. I prefer the '70s mixes on the 3 tunes from "Now and Then", however, these mixes are pretty damn good.

So, I give it a "9". Your results may vary.
 

berninahusq

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Like all the Carpenters album releases, I waited impatiently to get this in the mail. I was very disappointed in the Carpenters Quad Tapes that I bought in the 70s because the rear channels just contained ambience.

Not only does Richard make full use of surround techniques to envelope you in sound and harmony, but with the clarity of this DSD SACD transfer, you can actually feel the inside of Richard's piano and Karen's drums. The quality of this SACD is so much better than other SACDs of 70s music I bought. I was amazed at how improved the Elton John SACD sounds. I was absolutely astounded what Richard did with this one. It sounds like it was recorded with today's technology.

If you are a Carpenters fan at any level, you need to RUN not walk to get this SACD. Even if you are not, you'll surely want this SACD in your collection to showcase your entertainment system.

No surprise that today (2/13/05) it has remained CD Universe's #1 selling SACD since it was released.

I give it a 10.
 

discman

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Not a huge fan & I don't remember the original mixes well enough to notice the re-recordings. That being said I absolutely loved this sonically & surround wise.
 

bmoura

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berninahusq said:
Like all the Carpenters album releases, I waited impatiently to get this in the mail. I was very disappointed in the Carpenters Quad Tapes that I bought in the 70s because the rear channels just contained ambience.

Not only does Richard make full use of surround techniques to envelope you in sound and harmony, but with the clarity of this DSD SACD transfer, you can actually feel the inside of Richard's piano and Karen's drums. The quality of this SACD is so much better than other SACDs of 70s music I bought. I was amazed at how improved the Elton John SACD sounds. I was absolutely astounded what Richard did with this one. It sounds like it was recorded with today's technology.

If you are a Carpenters fan at any level, you need to RUN not walk to get this SACD. Even if you are not, you'll surely want this SACD in your collection to showcase your entertainment system.

No surprise that today (2/13/05) it has remained CD Universe's #1 selling SACD since it was released.

I give it a 10.
In the '70s A&M's Quad releases were mixed by their Director of New Products and QA (Marv Bornstein) and a staff engineer (Bart Chiate). On the CD-4 and Q8 releases, they once told Billboard that they employed a lot of "cross channel echos" to create a surround sound field while they used discrete corner channels with the SQ matrix encoded discs to help the logic circuits along.

The Now and Then album in Quad from the '70s was pretty lively in the Rear Channels. I don't recall the others well enough to remember whether they were primarily ambient in the rear channels or not.
 

MIDIQ

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bmoura said:
In the '70s A&M's Quad releases were mixed by their Director of New Products and QA (Marv Bornstein) and a staff engineer (Bart Chiate). On the CD-4 and Q8 releases, they once told Billboard that they employed a lot of "cross channel echos" to create a surround sound field while they used discrete corner channels with the SQ matrix encoded discs to help the logic circuits along.

The Now and Then album in Quad from the '70s was pretty lively in the Rear Channels. I don't recall the others well enough to remember whether they were primarily ambient in the rear channels or not.
The Carpenters Q8 titled The Singles 1969-1973 was a fantastic quad mix.
 

MC Maniac

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Gave this a 9 but could have been a 10..

Excellant all around..

I wish we had more like this - initial 77 minutes greatest hits collection - followed later by deeper artist catalogs..
 

jrahrah

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I haven't delved into my Q-8 of this to give it a comparison which I would love to do side by side, but the quad and the new system are three floors apart. Not knowing the originals as well as some other releases, it would be difficult for me to pick out the differences, but having been given some clues, I 'll check it out. I did compare the CD to the SACD, and even though there are the same amount of songs, at least three were different.

I did sit down and give it a listen today, and though I thought it was a solid mix, I was looking for a bit more separation and expansive sound-stage that I tend to like in surround. What I mean was there wasn't a whole lot of discrete separation.

By the way, I see this advertised on the web as a hybrid, yet I got it at BB (mixed in with the rest) and it had the 'Plays On SACD Players', is it hybrid or SACD only?
 

bmoura

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jrahrah said:
By the way, I see this advertised on the web as a hybrid, yet I got it at BB (mixed in with the rest) and it had the 'Plays On SACD Players', is it hybrid or SACD only?
It's a Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD. It has CD Stereo, SACD Stereo and SACD Surround Sound tracks.
 

timbre4

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What amazing vocal work! I'm reminded what a talent Karen was and the material overall is great. There are a few I could do without, but that would be remedied by having full versions of the albums I remember. Striking clarity is eye-opening; we need tons of good catalog titles done in this manner.

Given the current state of the SACD format, I have to wonder how long this specific version will be around. Will UMG support it as a single inventory item or is there a danger it will get diminished to a lesser DD delivery? Maybe a CD/DVD-A pkg is emerging as the alternative.....
 

jrahrah

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bmoura said:
It's a Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD. It has CD Stereo, SACD Stereo and SACD Surround Sound tracks.

http://www.richardandkarencarpenter.com/Album_SinglesSACD.htm

Here it is on the web with the same sticker. I'll have to try it in a regular CD player.

What do you read into the website name? Don't you think Carpenters would suffice? Is Richard feeling left in the shadows?.........I'm just making things up?

Hey, is SpelChek working?
 

jrahrah

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Me again. I gave it a listen again this morning, and I must move it up a notch. I guess that since I was sitting in the sweet spot and not buried with my head in the pillows like yesterday, I was able to appreciate it more. Though I thought there was still limited attention to the rears and most to Karen (deservedly so), it is a nice mix with a broader soundstage then I originally detected.

I kind of like that Calling Occupants Of Inter-planetary most Extraordinary Craft song. I guess it was written during the whole life light, ET thing.
 

Bob Romano

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I have listened to this disc more than any other since it's release. I have to say it is one of my favorites that I own. Karen's voice is still haunting and so pure. I think the mix fits the music perfectly. My only criticism is that "Merry Christmas Darling" should have been at the end of the disc. I absolutely hate Christmas music (even if it Karen Carpenter singing). I give it a 9.
 

Cosmic Debris

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I think this one has a great surround mix and uses all of the channels well. Overall I gave it a 9. The sound is Analog Like to my ears . I haven't heard the Quad mix so I really can't compare that. But It is sure nice to have some Carpenters in Surround Sound finally.
 

mrtanner

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I gave it a "9" because there are times the limitations of 30+ year-old tapes show through, but this is as good as I could have imagined. Enough has been written about Karen's voice.

The piano on "This Masquerade" is in the room with you. Even the songs that I would normally skip as being weaker in my personal rating system suck me in.

Bravo, Richard.
 
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