Hearing this on DVD-A was a revelation. The surround sound opens the music up very nicely. This disc is definitely demo quality. The mix is fantastic. It's very discrete but does not overwhelm you and makes very good use of the rear speakers. Overall I give it a 9.
I've listened to this disc a few times over the past couple of years and I just can't quite warm up to it. The band is good, the recording is good and the surround mix is decent (if somewhat uneven) and I really want to like these guys... and I do, to a certain extent. I dunno, ultimately it's just like warm milk for me. It's safe and generic music, for the most part... but it's still good! It's just not something I'm going to be reaching for very often. Seven points.
I like the mix, it's the music that really sounds pedestrian, always did. Hootie was, in a fashion, the Iron Butterfly of its time, a big deal for over a year once they finally took off, but for all that brief success, not a lot of substance(though I do find IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA a great guilty pleasure, even if the music isn't).
Picked a copy of this up on Ebay last week (under £5)I have just been listening to it and my intial coments would be:
The surround Mix is a tad conservative
and its an annoying flipper disc !!
SLIGHTLY TRIMMED 23/07/2018 to not be so unpleasant in tone.
The mix sounds like a rough monitor mix. The vocal needs some decent reverb or something to sit it in the mix properly. It sticks out like a sore thumb. The mix sounds so unfinished, it loses all that was good about the stereo mixes, lacks cohesion in a big way, and sounds unpleasant tonally on my player too.
Been listening to this lately in the car, for some reason. In the wife's Acura, the center is overwhelming at the normal level - Darius' vocals are overpowering. In my car, for some reason, it's more balanced. I'm pleased but not enamored with this mix. It opens up nicely in a few places, and "Hannah Jane" (my favorite song on the record) sounds great. Leads like to pan around the soundfield for no reason, as if they threw up their hands at trying to find something interesting to do.
Overall, a pedestrian mix for a fairly generic-sounding album with a few good moments. Sounds nice when cranked, needs a little EQ to shine.
Love this album, but the surround mix is a huge disappointment. It's basically "expanded stereo". The lead and backing vocals are loudest in the center, but appear everywhere else. The drums seem to be mainly upfront with the overheads/cymbal wash in the rears. Everything else (guitars, organ) is side-wall imaged. Every time a guitar solo pops up and you hope it might be discrete in the rears, nope, it's also at full power in the front. This could've such a great opportunity to really break up the instrumentation and throw the listener in the middle the band, but that's not what we got.
I've been playing around with the files, and I actually noticed a quick edit you can make to "Hold My Hand" that slightly improves the surround mix.
The song opens with a solo acoustic guitar, then after the vocals start an electric guitar part comes in. The original stereo mix had the acoustic guitar panned hard to the right and the electric panned hard to the left. This bit in the surround mix is literally still stereo- the acoustic guitar is in right front and right rear, and the electric is in left front and left rear. It almost sounds like they took the stereo mix and duplicated it to the rears.
However, if you swap channels diagonally, you get a "discrete"-sounding presentation of one guitar in the front, and the other in the rear. I applied this swap to the intro and outro of the song. My first edit was from roughly 0:00:00-0:35:00, and my second was from roughly 3:55:50 to the end.
"Hold My Hand" (Original):
"Hold My Hand (RR & FL swapped @ intro and outro):