HiRez Poll Joel, Billy - STREETLIFE SERENADE [SACD]

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

Rate the SACD of Billy Joel - STREETLIFE SERENADE

  • 10 - Excellent Surround, Excellent Fidelity, Excellent Content

    Votes: 8 20.0%
  • 9 -

    Votes: 16 40.0%
  • 8 -

    Votes: 15 37.5%
  • 7 -

    Votes: 1 2.5%
  • 6 -

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5 -

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4 -

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3 -

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2 -

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1 - Poor Surround, Poor Fidelity, Poor Contact

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    40

bmoura

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,519
Location
Redwood City, CA
Currently the # 2 Best Seller in Multichannel SACD on the Acoustic Sounds web site (sandwiched between Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here at # 1 and Roger Waters - Amused to Death at # 3), Streetlife Serenade is one of Billy Joel's lesser known albums. It was released in Quad in the 1970's on Columbia Records SQ Matrix encoded Vinyl LP and Family Productions Discrete Quad 8 Track Tape. The album features both vocal tracks and some instrumentals - the best known of which is "The Entertainer".

This album benefits from the 4 Channel Surround Sound mix and I find myself rarely listening to it in Stereo. As is the case with many of the Columbia titles, you will find instruments solo'd in the rear channels to take advantage of the SQ matrix encoding and decoding of the day. Overall, I'd say that the Quad mix is enjoyable and enhances the music.

Sonically the album sounds a bit dated and isn't up to the quality of the Labelle Multichannel SACD that was recently released by Audio Fidelity. For that reason, I'm dropping it a point and giving it an "8" rating.
 

GOS

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
15,763
Location
Central Illinois
Hey gang....I received my copy of Billy Joel today. I immediately listened to it front and back this evening. A few first impressions....

* Pleased with general audio qualities......you know how I like bass. This is not lacking whatsoever.
* Pleased with the basic Quad properties. There is a LOT of isolated instruments here and there. Similar to EWF, the rears are super active/loud....so you have to get used to the idea of sitting in the rear of your listening room......
* Songs in general are hit and miss. A couple of the songs...I like a lot...others somewhat put me to sleep. So, it depends on if you like this music I suppose.


Now that I've said all that...and voted a 7. I LOVE this disc. It's very, very warm...very vinyl like IMO. The surround mix is very active.....you gotta love that as well. Bass content is deep....although...maybe a bit muddy. Though...not bad. I'm ecstatic to have this disc as an alternative to the bigger name tag releases.

Will I play this often...NOPE....but when the mood hits, I'll spin it and be very, very happy with the results.
 

JonUrban

Forum Curmudgeon
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
16,854
Location
Connecticut
When I got the test copy of this disc to check out for Marshall, he asked me to listen to Track 8 ("Weekend Song") because he thought it sounded a lot different than the rest of the tracks. He thought there was a lot of echo and it made for a stark change from the other tunes.

I went back to my master hard drive where I had the Q8 files, and an SQ decode of the LP. On both the Q8 and the SQLP, the sound was the same. That's the way it was mixed/recorded. As it stands, it's not one of my favorite Billy Joel tunes by any stretch of the imagination. "Root Beer Rag" and "Souvenir" would be the only tunes from this album that would make my BJGH disc, so I don't rate this one high for content - but that's just me.

The quad mix is great with a few exceptions, and the audio sounds better than a clean SQ LP and of course the Q8, so in that respect it's a winner.

My bottom line on this one is this: I sure wish AF would have gotten to "Piano Man" and "Turnstiles" before MFSL did. Now those two would have been stunning, especially the later.

I'm going with an '8'.
 

GOS

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
15,763
Location
Central Illinois
Jon - I absolutely know what you mean by the echo on that song compared to others. You are very right...I noticed it right away....but because I didn't know the original content, felt it wasn't in my best interest to comment. I do like the disc.....so glad to have it. Chalk it up to collecting some good stuff in a format that brings back the good old days.
 

privateuniverse

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
2,238
Location
Hartford, CT
My copy arrived today and I put it in right away.

I will start off by saying that I've never understood the bad rap that most people (including Billy himself) give this album. Maybe it's because it was the album that first turned me on to Billy Joel, but I don't think there's a weak song on this album. Granted, its best moments probably don't rival the best songs on the three albums that followed it. However, I also feel that Turnstiles, The Stranger and 52nd Street each have one or two weak tracks that I will usually skip over. Also, as a pianist who has studied his music for years, I find that of all his albums, this album has the most songs that I enjoy playing when I sit at my piano. The only problem musically that I have with this album is that Columbia was not allowing him to use his touring band and insisted he use session players. Compare the performance of "Los Angelenos" on here to the live version on Songs in the Attic. The live version blows away the original.

Now onto the mix. LOVE IT!!! Very active use of the rear speakers and very discrete. Much like the Earth, Wind & Fire. Keeps you guessing too. In one song, the piano will be behind you. In the next, the drums. As others have mentioned, the rears are on the powerful side, guess that was standard for quad back in the day, but it's nothing that can't be easily adjusted.

I honestly can't think of any criticisms on this one and the album has been a favorite of mine for forty years. (Crap! I'm old!) So I have to give this one a 10.
 

sjcorne

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
3,528
Location
Southern NY
The discreteness was amazing compared to the SQ LP heard thru a wave matching logic decoder. I also thought the fidelity was quite good. While maybe not as good an an album as some of his later ones you could see the talent in the works here. I give this a 10. Hope AF keeps on releasing more gems like this. After listening to this, gave the SQ disk a spin and realize now what the intended placement was supposed to be !
 

kap'n krunch

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
Messages
7,392
Location
estados hundidos
Not being familiar AT ALL with this LP, I jumped right in and bought it...
This is is one of those discs that are a surprisingly good upon the FIRST listen (an I'm REALLY demanding with my music).

I think it's a brilliant album with top notch musicianship and overall , for me , better than "The Stranger" and "52nd street"...can't wait to listen to it more times..will vote later , but it's really a 10 for me...
 

Fourplay

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
QQ Supporter
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,377
Location
Denver
I voted an 8 on this. Would have been higher if there were more songs I loved here.

Have just finished giving this the first spin tonight. Sounds like an excellent capture of the master recording. The fidelity of the this recording is somehow different from his 52nd Street & The Stranger. Is this down to available technology of the time (probably not) or the technology he had access to at this point in his career (probably)? It just does not sound as.... polished as the other titles.

That said, I LOVE the mixes. Got chills from Root Beer Rag and The Entertainer. I will put these tracks in my demo rotation for Billy Joel fans that come through my sweet spot. I like these MIXES better than the other two mentioned SACDs. 70s quad goodness!

This is also a showcase for out of date synthesizer sounds. Is the featured synth on track 3 the same one used to make noises for the "pong" game from the 1970s? There is some cool stuff frozen in the amber of this album.

I agree that this was not the natural pick for the first BJ release from AF. Will they not be able to release the others because of other existing SACDs? Other music has been released on multiple hi rez formats. What about Blu-ray audio with the quad mix for the others? Perhaps the strong sales of this title will encourage that.

Do we/can we know the numbers this is selling?

Very happy with this!
 

GOS

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
15,763
Location
Central Illinois
I voted an 8 on this. Would have been higher if there were more songs I loved here.

Have just finished giving this the first spin tonight. Sounds like an excellent capture of the master recording. The fidelity of the this recording is somehow different from his 52nd Street & The Stranger. Is this down to available technology of the time (probably not) or the technology he had access to at this point in his career (probably)? It just does not sound as.... polished as the other titles.

That said, I LOVE the mixes. Got chills from Root Beer Rag and The Entertainer. I will put these tracks in my demo rotation for Billy Joel fans that come through my sweet spot. I like these MIXES better than the other two mentioned SACDs. 70s quad goodness!

This is also a showcase for out of date synthesizer sounds. Is the featured synth on track 3 the same one used to make noises for the "pong" game from the 1970s? There is some cool stuff frozen in the amber of this album.

I agree that this was not the natural pick for the first BJ release from AF. Will they not be able to release the others because of other existing SACDs? Other music has been released on multiple hi rez formats. What about Blu-ray audio with the quad mix for the others? Perhaps the strong sales of this title will encourage that.

Do we/can we know the numbers this is selling?

Very happy with this!
LOL! I thought the exact same thing, but couldn't think of the name of the game....
 

blue.monk

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
1,017
Location
Atlanta, GA
This is also a showcase for out of date synthesizer sounds. Is the featured synth on track 3 the same one used to make noises for the "pong" game from the 1970s?
Pretty much! That's a Minimoog triangle wave tone and when unadorned is about as basic as you can get. Fortunately the album's other synth sounds are more sculpted and hence more musical.
 

alk3997

500 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Dec 14, 2005
Messages
515
Location
Houston, TX
To my ears this is one of the better mixed and remastered quad recordings that have been released on SACD. This must have been recorded on a 16-track deck which gave whoever did the mix back in the 70s, a lot of latitude for sound placement. Vocals are nicely mixed in the middle (mostly), there are no flying instruments and the use of the rear channels is very effective. I particularly enjoyed the tracks where the guitars were spread between the rear channels. I also didn't need to re-adjust my system levels just to make this mix sound good. The tonal qualities were excellent for the source material.

If I were to want to demo how good a 1974-ish quad recording can sound on today's equipment, I'd use this disc.

I took half a point off for upper frequency loss compared to what a remix would do. The bass punch was not too much loss so the remastering was well done, just less than what could be done if the multitrack master tapes still exist. Unfortunately we don't have a 9.5 rating, so it's a solid 9+ for Streetlife Serenade. I think I'll have another listen...

Andy
 

blue.monk

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
1,017
Location
Atlanta, GA
It’s been great rediscovering this album. I hadn’t heard it in ages before its arrival last week and was curious if I’d enjoy it as much as I had growing up. And the answer is a resounding “yes”. The tracks are uniformly excellent - clever, varied and musically mature. The sound is clear & warm and the quad mix highly entertaining. Be warned that the separation of elements and effects is almost always absolute - which at times can be rather jarring (e.g. Moog on track three) but somehow it all works. A delighted “10” from me.

Incidentally it’s been quite the Billy Joel week for me. I work in piano music publishing and on the heels of this disc arriving I was given a handful of BJ titles to arrange for a pop compilation. Alas, Root Beer Rag was not among them. :)
 

Franklin

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Aug 10, 2013
Messages
1,509
The surround mix has good sound - quite warm - on this SACD, and suits a rear satelite set up too. The Mexican Connection quad mix really works! Great sound, great mix, and it's possibly in my top four BJ albums. It clearly beats my SQ decode, but also shows that the SQ Final script does a decent enough job if a good, discrete alternative isn't out there. Hmm, 8 or 9...?
 

Franklin

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Aug 10, 2013
Messages
1,509
I've also been surprised to discover that the UK stereo vinyl on CBS is no slouch either (IMHO) compared to the redbook and DSD layers, although there may be some speed stability issues on The Mexican Connection on the vinyl...
 

oxenholme

400 Club - QQ All-Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
484
Location
NW England
Never heard the album before.

I'm not keen on the first two songs, but the remainder are very much to my liking.

The real highlight for me is that "out of date" "unsculpted" "unmusical" synth on track 3 - it sounds superb and really "makes" the track.

I'll give it a strong 8.
 

ar surround

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Messages
2,587
Location
New Joisey
Some say that this is their least favorite Billy Joel album. I wish that my "least favorite" album from every act was as good as this one. The whole presentation really holds together for me, almost approaching a concept album with the instrumentals inserted for comic relief. I agree with most people that the mix and sonics are very well done, especially for a vintage quad mix. I gave it a 9. Oh, and Bart the Cat also approves as he sat on my lap for the entire album despite cats supposedly hating SACD. Thank you once again Audio Fidelity!
 

John Svensson

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Messages
1,859
Location
Lititz, Pennsylvania
I give it a solid 9, I must say that I never owned nor heard very much off this album back in the day...Entertainer and Los Angelinos are about all I can recall ever being broadcast on the FM dial, so it was with a fresh ear, so to speak. As someone mentioned, the album does flow very well I feel, very good sound quality given the age...probably the best any of us will ever hear it.... and I love the Mini Moog injections. The quad mix goes well with the tunes. John
 

Quad Linda

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
8,739
Location
DROP YOUR WAD ON QUAD Chicago, Illinois
9. This came a few weeks ago. I've played all three versions on the album, and they all sound good. Although far from my favorite BJ album, it's still wonderful. Los Angelinos, Root Beer Rag, and The Entertainer are the best tracks here, IMHO. I have a mint SQ from back in the day. Most of my past spins were of a Japan CD and remastered US CD from '98.

It wasn't ten for me because my bitch is likely what BJ's bitch is with this and his other two Columbia SQ's: it's NOT his band, but studio guys. Although the musicianship is great, IMHO, it's a bit stiff. The Stranger finally gave him a most sympathetic producer in Phil Ramone, RIP. Columbia and Ramone let BJ use his own guys. The Stranger (and several subsequent albums) gels and cooks, even on the slow numbers.

Good Quad mix and not to be missed. And, yes, don't you wish that everyone's lesser albums in their canon were this good?
 
Top