HiRez Poll Santana - LOTUS [SACD][JAPAN]

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Rate the SACD of Santana - LOTUS


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rtbluray

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this 2017 Multichannel SACD release from Santana of their 1974 live album "Lotus", featuring some unreleased tracks that were not on the original album.

(n) :) (y)


 

DuncanS

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This is a tough one. I'd bought the AF "Lotus" as it was SQ encoded, partly in the hope it would encourage more, I listened to it via DD ProII Music (I'm waiting on the Involve Surround Pre-amp/decoder to be released) and it didn't come out very Quad. So when Sony announced "Lotus" as a discrete 4.0 SACD set I ordered, kind of hoping that it would be discrete, but also as I hoped it would encourage more Quads from the vaults to be released. So I ordered it from CDJapan and as usual I had to pay the import duty/tax handling fee, which I did yesterday and it turned up today (well packed), all-in-all its cost me around £102/US$130. Was it worth it?

Package: It is excellent, up to the usual Japanese standard, meticulous. The only shame is that the huge booklet is all in Japanese, it would be nice to read what is in it (has pictures of multi-track tape boxes). So I would say this was aimed at the market in Japan, not really with an eye on the export market.

Audio Quality: Again its a Japanese release, it is incredibly well done, I think that it is marginally better than the AF release, doesn't seem as 'muddy', I did compare a couple of tracks, so I suspect its from 1st generation Quad master tapes.

Music: Its Santana, its good, a typical 'self-indulgent' mid-70s live album, with some way out of tune vocals in places, but enjoyable.

Surround: Non-existent! You know where the very quiet audience are at the end of tracks, ........behind you, ............occasionally you hear a bit of high-frequency reverb/echo from a Cymbal or the like in the rears, otherwise its basically a stereo album. So whoever mixed this into Quad back in the day - didn't understand Quad, am I being harsh, I don't think so.

So back to the question was it worth it? As a surround package not to me. As an encouragement to boost the chances of more Santana studio Quads to be released, Yes. As a collector's package, Yes.

So what do I give it? I'll be generous its a 4 to 5, as its really an enhanced stereo release in my mind, if it had been a truly good Quad it would have been higher.
 

JonUrban

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I am going to give this disc a 9. First off, the presentation is gorgeous. Again with Sony Japan, the attention to detail is impeccable, and these quad SACD releases in the larger packaging really hearken back to the old days of getting an LP and holding it in your hand and looking at all of the stuff that came with it while you listen to the album.

The audio is vibrant and clear, and having the discrete mix moves most of the sound to the fronts where it came from during the live concert. The SQ encoding of the early '70s caused a lot of sounds to bleed to the rears and while that might seem to make it more "quad", it's really not the way it sounded, and since this is an "in the audience" mix, the discrete SACD does a superior job of creating the venue feel.

As you can see by the wav files below, the Sony Japan wav files have little in the rears, and listening to them by themselves is pure ambience, while the decoded SQ of the AF SACD almost sounds like your listening to one of the main channels, however there is little or no distinction between the fronts and the rears.

The Sony SACD has the entire concert, and adding that to the great packaging and the better defined sound field, I have to rate this high. I can't blame the recording as not being like Roy Orbison's Black and White Night because that's not how it was recorded. Taking that into consideration, I think I will instead make this a 10. It totally delivers what the original intent of the recording was, the performance is great, and the package is perfection.

If you're looking for Black and White Night, don't go for it. If you don't really like live concerts, save your money. If you already have the AF SACD and don't really listen to it a lot, save your money. This one is for real Santana fans and extreme quad collectors.

Two questions:
1) Since this release is, despite all things, the first time that it is in a discrete format, where is the location of the Conga blast at the beginning of Samba de Sausalito?
2) How are the new extra tracks?
To answer winopeners question, here is a look at the beginning of "Samba de Sauslito", with the blast of bongo's starting it off. Yes, the bongo blast is also in the rears. You can also see the difference between the Surround Master decoded SACD and the Sony SACD as I am showing 2 minutes of this song in both versions. Obviously, the Sony is the top wav file, the AF decoded is the lower.

Lotus Both.jpg
 

TommyTunes

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I was very disappointed when the AF was released in stereo, so I jumped on this when it was announced. If you heard the SQ album when it was released you know what to expect from the surround mix. Just like many classical quads it captures the hall but it is far from an aggressive quad mix. The Sony SACD us much better than the AF, it is clean, clear and very detailed, almost the opposite of the AF which I found much too soft sounding. Lotus represented the high pount in excessive packaging in the seventies, I absolutely loved it when it came out and this Japanese release bests it by including additional booklets.
This has always been one of my favorite Santana albums and I'm thrilled that Sony Japan tackled such an extravagant package. i certainly hope they keep doing them.
 

marpow

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I voted 6. Disappointment abounds with no surround. I won't bore you with a big review as others who posted before me have done a great job. My 6 vote is a mixture of feelings I have about this new release all jumbled up. Packaging superb and fun, a little larger in size than the previous Japan releases. Sonic quality is way better than the Audio Fidelity release of just a few months ago, very clear and robust, unlike AF's kind of muddy. Surround is almost non existent, a good example is Disc 1, Track 3, which has a laser sounding instrument, that would have been a no brainier to mix and spin around all the speakers in the room, but unfortunately just stays stereo. However, what makes this not a waste of plastic is the, I will call it "enhanced stereo sound", of course fills the listening room, which is great.
It is a live recording and as we all know our expectations should never be high on true discrete surround sound on old live recordings.
Am I glad I purchased it ? That's really the question. I could have passed. But it is nice to know that there are two SACD versions out now and one, this one, is superbly better than the other. The other reason only now that I have it, is "I am showing support for other Santana albums to be released in 5.1 SACD. That is not a good enough reason for me, but it helps.
My prediction is the next two will be Abraxas and Caravanseri.
 

Scott65

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I gave it an 8. Great packaging, great music, great sound. Let down by it really being a stereo music mix with (almost always) the audience in the rear speakers. I might add that I have no other copies of this album to compare with. So much potential for an immersive mix....
 

Scott65

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I voted 6. Disappointment abounds with no surround. I won't bore you with a big review as others who posted before me have done a great job. My 6 vote is a mixture of feelings I have about this new release all jumbled up. Packaging superb and fun, a little larger in size than the previous Japan releases. Sonic quality is way better than the Audio Fidelity release of just a few months ago, very clear and robust, unlike AF's kind of muddy. Surround is almost non existent, a good example is Disc 1, Track 3, which has a laser sounding instrument, that would have been a no brainier to mix and spin around all the speakers in the room, but unfortunately just stays stereo. However, what makes this not a waste of plastic is the, I will call it "enhanced stereo sound", of course fills the listening room, which is great.
It is a live recording and as we all know our expectations should never be high on true discrete surround sound on old live recordings.
Am I glad I purchased it ? That's really the question. I could have passed. But it is nice to know that there are two SACD versions out now and one, this one, is superbly better than the other. The other reason only now that I have it, is "I am showing support for other Santana albums to be released in 5.1 SACD. That is not a good enough reason for me, but it helps.
My prediction is the next two will be Abraxas and Caravanseri.
having no copies of this album I thought it would be good to get this one regardless. I really like it but would have loved an immersive music mix.
 

4-earredwonder

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Finally received my copy of LOTUS from CDJapan. And yes, like everyone else stated, it's not discrete [audience in the rears] but I do consider the bonus SACD with 38 minutes of unreleased music a terrific bonus.

The original LOTUS SQ LP set included 3 discs and with the bonus, a fourth disc so I DO consider the SONY QUAD remaster of Lotus with the ultra incredible packaging a bargain.

I voted 9, deducting the extra point for lack of the normally hyperkinetic SONY discrete surround treatment!

IMO, a VERY classy LIMITED EDITION remaster and beyond expectation first class packaging. Hopefully, SONY Japan will release ALL of the Santana QUADs and then we'll ALL be happy campers!:banana:
 

bmoura

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Having no copies of this album I thought it would be good to get this one regardless. I really like it but would have loved an immersive music mix.
After all these years of only having access to the SQ Matrix encoded version of the concert, it's great to have the album transferred from the Original Discrete Analog Master Tapes.
With bonus material to further enhance things.

As for whether a concert like this should have been mixed with a middle of the band/immersive approach vs. a band in the front, audience and occasional music and ambience in the rears, that's an artistic choice.
That choice was made by the producer, recording engineer and band 44 years ago.

It's a nice addition to the music collection here. :)
 

4-earredwonder

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I JUST finished listening to the BONUS Disc [SACD 3] of LOTUS and I give it an 11! I played it at a robust 78 db, applied a +4 bass boost and it's really ASTOUNDING on my main system. All 7 tracks are brilliant Santana and the recording is amazing for the early 70's.

And we're hearing those tracks for the first time since the LIVE recording was made in 1973. Hidden Treasures.....all of them!:banana:

If you're on the fence about adding the SONY Japan 3 SACD set of LOTUS to your collection..........MY VERY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.


Seriously folks, it leaves the AF 2 SACD STEREO set in the dust!
 

rustyandi

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I received mine
After I picked all the paper that fell out when I opened the pack
I put the number 1 side on there was intro then silence
I was just about to get up when it started playing
I have had the SQ Vinyl for years
This sounded more like a live concert although I turned up the rear
to get a better effect
I must be getting old because I don,t like when they
muck around with the songs and put little extra bits in
Sound is good but I really like Surround
 

fredblue

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I JUST finished listening to the BONUS Disc [SACD 3] of LOTUS and I give it an 11! I played it at a robust 78 db, applied a +4 bass boost and it's really ASTOUNDING on my main system. All 7 tracks are brilliant Santana and the recording is amazing for the early 70's.

And we're hearing those tracks for the first time since the LIVE recording was made in 1973. Hidden Treasures.....all of them!:banana:

If you're on the fence about adding the SONY Japan 3 SACD set of LOTUS to your collection..........MY VERY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.


Seriously folks, it leaves the AF 2 SACD STEREO set in the dust!
hi Ralph, thanks for all the feedback. is the bonus disc in 4.0 or 5.1? is the surround mix approach on the bonus tracks the same as on the original Quad? (i.e.ambient rather than active) tia. :)
 

4-earredwonder

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hi Ralph, thanks for all the feedback. is the bonus disc in 4.0 or 5.1? is the surround mix approach on the bonus tracks the same as on the original Quad? (i.e.ambient rather than active) tia. :)
Adam, it's 4.0. But let me say this. I thought the fronts and rears were mixed quite well integrating the live audience with the band. As bmoura [Brian] stated.....the engineers didn't utilize a gimmicky approach and I agree [at least in this instance]. There is ambience in the rears but no discrete elements other then a very enthusiastic audience.

I DO have the Audio Fidelity SQ Stereo SACDs and I found this set overwhelmingly superior on every level. For 3 SACD 4.0 discs and the elaborate packaging, I think you will enjoy this release....and fingers crossed....other DISCRETE 4.0 Santana releases will follow.
 

perzon57

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When I got this set I played disc1 and 2 and was not inpressed.Few songs I liked and the playing was so so.Was thinking of rate it a 6.Then I put on disc 3 and and it all came together.Fantastic songs and even the fidelity seems to be better.:)
On the the first two discs together there are 3-4 songs I like,on disc 3 I like them all!(y)Songs 1,6 and 7 are the standouts.The guitar even goes to the rears on the ending of song 6.:music So i gave it 8,mostly for disc 3.I don't think disc 3 is a bonus disc.I read that the exstra songs where put in where they where in the original setlist.
Don't think I will play disc1 and 2 much,but disc 3 will get played quite often.
 

par4ken

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I finally decided to get this as I want to support the future release of more vintage Quad's from Sony Japan. Overall the sound quality is excellent, however as others have stated the recording is basically stereo with applause from the rear. If you turn the balance away the the back you can hear a little bit of hall ambience but it doesn't really sound right played back like that. The applause sounds like two distinct groups of people, they should of added a bit of fill across the rear, even if it violates one of the rules of SQ encoding. I might try playing the fronts through a decoder (QS surround mode) to get more sound out of the back, and see how it sounds. I'll give it a 5.
 

fac23

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Of course it's too bad that the music isn't really in quad. But compared to other multichannel live releases with annoying fake reverb in the back, this is a refreshingly honest mix. There's almost nothing coming from behind except crowd noise and even that only inbetween songs. Makes the whole affair astonishingly enjoyable. Add to that the incredible packaging and the price is almost justified. Well, no. :) Still, the product I'd rate an 8 but this is QQ and the mix deserves no more than a 5 (for content and sound quality) so this is what it is.
 

Bill Mac

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I haven't listened to the Lotus JSACD in quite awhile. Played most of the first disc this morning and feel the surround mix is a bit of a let down. I gave it a 5 as the surrounds are not very active as already mentioned several times. Not sure how aggressive the LP SQ (correct term?) mix was but I was expecting something a bit more than ambiance from the surrounds. Still very happy I bought the set as the artwork is incredible. If and when this set goes OOP it'll be quite expensive.

Bill
 

4-earredwonder

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I haven't listened to the Lotus JSACD in quite awhile. Played most of the first disc this morning and feel the surround mix is a bit of a let down. I gave it a 5 as the surrounds are not very active as already mentioned several times. Not sure how aggressive the LP SQ (correct term?) mix was but I was expecting something a bit more than ambiance from the surrounds. Still very happy I bought the set as the artwork is incredible. If and when this set goes OOP it'll be quite expensive.

Bill
Bill, as far as I'm concerned Disc 3 [the bonus disc] of LOTUS is the best of the batch in terms of content and fidelity. I still prefer the Japan SACD to the Audio Fidelity Stereo only SACD which omitted the 3rd bonus disc. The packaging is excellent, as you said.
 

Bill Mac

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Bill, as far as I'm concerned Disc 3 [the bonus disc] of LOTUS is the best of the batch in terms of content and fidelity. I still prefer the Japan SACD to the Audio Fidelity Stereo only SACD which omitted the 3rd bonus disc. The packaging is excellent, as you said.
Cool! I'll be playing disc 3 tomorrow for sure.

Bill
 

fac23

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I would in no way consider myself an expert on this recording, but comparing the tracklist of the original vinyl issues and this SACD it looks like the bonus tracks have been inserted in the original order and not just tacked on as disc 3. So disc 3 is not really a bonus disc as such and shouldn't sound different.
 
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