I've owned this one for quite sometime. The song selection is typically Sting in that you have a little of every style.
While the songs are not easily memorable, there is nothing unlikable on the disc.
The recording once again is typical of Sting, very, very good! The mix is clean and a joy to experience.
It's the computer drums that start to irritate me on most tracks. Also the bass drum doesn't sound right (might partly be my room accoustics though).
The songs are a mixed bag IMO, not his best album and not the best surround mix of his albums that have been releaed in (DTS) surround.
Still worth a 6 from me.
Although some people don't like the music on this disc, I do. I think it's another good Sting disc, with a good mix of musical styles. The fidelity is pretty good, and the mix is at least interesting - sometimes discrete, sometimes not. They often mix some of the lead vocals into the rears, which I don't generally prefer, but it works okay here. I teetered between a 7 and an 8, but went with the 8. I put this one on fairly often. Enjoyable.
I have this one on DVD-A, so can you update the thread to reflect this Jon??
What a disappointment after the previous outing "Brand New Day" that was mixed by Elliot Scheiner.
This one is lacklustre, boring and seems to drag on forever.
There are some nice songs struggling to get out here, and the mix engineer seems to be having difficulty with placement as it is all over the place.
The drums are all sequenced - badly - and overall I get the impression that nobody is enjoying themselves here at all.
I am reminded of the old eighties habit of releasing bad albums as contract fillers, and this is one of those.
I felt this album in general is a BIG letdown coming from a longtime *serious* Sting fan. Too many filler tracks, too much use of synths in general and just not enough here to make me care. And plus the 5.1 mix is very uneven at best. Still, the few good moments on this album (Book Of My Life, Dead Man's Rope) at least brings it to a 3/10.
I really like the sound of this album. The recording quality, individual musical contributions and surround mix are all top-notch, by my estimation. The only thing that I feel is a yawn here is the strength of the songwriting. The songs are certainly competent, and there are some great moments, but as an album "Sacred Love" is not up to Sting's usually stellar output. But hey, we all have an off day, right? Not a bad listen at all, really. 8 points.
The funny thing about this SACD is that it was actually the first one I owned; even before I had a player! I just figured I'd spend the 1 Euro it cost more than the regular CD just for the novelty (and because I hoped the next player would be able to play the multichannel mix).
So when I got my Denon 3910 this was one of the first discs I popped in, and I was really stunned! I was completely sold to the HiRez multichannel world!
However, I just listened to it again, after some more listening experience and with the ability to better compare to what's possible with these formats; I still absolutely love the music! But I found the mix a bit "flat" at times. I was disappointed at the placing of the two lead voices in "Whenever I Say Your Name" (which is my favourite song on this album) in exactly the same spot bang in the center. In some other tracks I liked the mix better.
So overall I gave it a 7 (9 for the music and 5 for the mix...)
From what I recall, Sacred Love garnered a lot of mixed reviews and being that it’s a Sting album, that’s not too surprising as it seems many either love or loathe his music. However, I always felt the album was underrated and generally very good. A nice bonus of having the surround sound mix is the extra 2-3 minutes of "funky" piano playing at the end of Never Coming Home that is not available on the CD or high-resolution stereo layer. Excellent! In any case, there are plenty of reviews on the music so I’m moving on to the important items…
First, the fidelity is good, but not great. Sting’s vocals, when you can hear them well, sound good, but not quite “in-your-room realistic”. I do appreciate the fact that, despite being a pop album, I can turn the volume up on this album to a fairly high level. Nevertheless, so much of the album is computer-generated, including the drums, that everything feels excessively digital and processed. Furthermore, I was disappointed in the bass, which oftentimes felt very anemic and when it was present felt unnatural.
The surround mix is a mixed-bag and fairly inconsistent. Generally, I’d call the surround mix a “big sound mix” with mild to moderate discrete elements. In other words, it’s not a truly discrete mix, rather a front-to-back bleeding mix with occasional use of the rears for discrete sound effects. Even the background vocals often come out of the fronts and Sting’s vocals often emanate from all channels instead of just the front or even center channel. I don’t typically find these types of mixes very effective. The room is full of sound, but the sound is homogeneous. On a few tracks, (e.g., Inside, This War) the vocals are buried and hard to follow, whereas on others they are better balanced and understood. My wife, who is not nearly as familiar with the album as I am, had a difficult time following some of the lyrics. I never had this problem on the CD or stereo DVD-A layer.
My concerns about the mix were advanced by the lack of a WOW factor. Normally, I’ll listen to a surround sound album many times in stereo FIRST before ever playing the surround mix. I find that when the surround mix is very good to perfect, I appreciate the mix even more if I understood how the music was presented in stereo. A good surround mix opens up the soundstage and should allow us to hear more of the individual elements of a song…right? Well, I know Sacred Love intimately, so I was surprised that after a few listens, I didn’t get the feeling that the surround mix was giving me a significantly better presentation of the music. To test my theory that the mix offered nothing substantial beyond the stereo mix, I played my favorite song off the album, Dead Man’s Rope, in surround DVD-A and stereo DVD-A in succession. And, as much as I was hoping it would not be the case, the stereo version actually held up very well, and in some cases, better than the surround mix. I had another 5dB of volume “available” to me on the stereo version and it overall sounded more dynamic, the vocals were better balanced and clearer, and the music overall had a better impact.
Okay, so there’s a lot of negativity there, but overall, despite these issues, the mix is adequate and, for the most part, enjoyable. I guess I just expected more from what I consider to be a very good collection of songs and a fairly layered production. There are some very effective moments with sound effects moving through the room, but nevertheless, I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities. Fun and worthwhile, but not a disc I’d play to show off the capabilities of multichannel music unless you have an avid Sting fan auditioning. I would certainly not play this album for a surround sound skeptic.
Baggy agree with the majority vote here. Wobbly "7." I think the mix is fine most of the time. Not suuuuper strong songs, but not as bad as some make out.
I think there is some die-hard backlash at play here. An artist is gonna take his or her lumps if they try something new...
Anyway, this is no Mercury Falling, but I can see spinnin' it from time to time.
Just got this on SACD and I thought that it was an ES mix... well, it's not and it sounds like a 1970's mix where the signal had been degraded til it was distorted and midrangey...the songs are still good but the production sucks big time..it's funny cause I did not like the songs when it came out, but I see that it was the production that screwed this up...
Well, since I had taken out the three other 5.1 Sting titles this weekend, I figured I should give this one a spin as well. (I have the Japanese SACD pressing with four bonus tracks.) Sadly, it's the least enjoyable of the bunch, both in terms of mix and content.
Not sure who did the mix here. The liner notes only credit the 5.1 mix on one of the bonus tracks. But this is a pretty unadventurous mix. What makes it worse is that occasionally there are moments of discrete activity in the rears, so the mixer knows it can be done, he just chooses not to do it much. In addition, despite having the same production team as Brand New Day, this doesn't feel nearly as rich or dynamic. The mix on one of the bonus tracks (a rerecording of "Moon Over Bourbon Street") is the most adventurous and discrete mix here, although the arrangement of the song is quite sparse so there isn't a lot to work with. (This is the one track where a 5.1 mixer is specifically credited. And I believe this track is exclusive to the Japanese SACD.)
As for content, it's also not a winner. The first two tracks feel like failed attempts at duplicating the opening tracks from the previous album, Brand New Day. "Whenever I Say Your Name" is a duet with Mary J. Blige. It feels like a desperate attempt to score a hit by collaborating with a younger artist; it doesn't work...and it wasn't a hit. "Dead Man's Rope" is a pleasant enough Sting ballad, but it's not enough to lift the album up. "Never Coming Home" has a great extended piano solo, but the computerized drums don't work with the song. A real rhythm section could have made the song a lot better. (Even with that though, it does feel like a retread of the late 80's live versions of "When the World is Running Down.") Next is "Stolen Car". Again you feel like you've heard it before, very similar to "Tomorrow We'll See" off the previous album. Same with the next track "Forget About the Future", feels like a rehash of "Perfect Love Gone Wrong." "This War" at least rocks out a little and doesn't immediately make you think of another song in his catalog. "The Book of My Life"....too melodically similar to "Desert Rose." And the title track feels too much like the title track of the previous album. Let's face it, he's run out of ideas here.
It feels like a crime that Blue Turtles, Soul Cages and Mercury Falling never got a surround mix but this one did. (Not to mention any of the Police's full studio albums.) However, if whoever mixed this did the mix for those albums, they would feel like major missed opportunities.
This disc falls short in every category. Unadventurous surround mix, content that ranges from poor to mediocre, and lacking in dynamics. Can't go higher than a 5.
I haven't listened to this album yet , but recently picked up a second copy of the SACD dirt cheap because it had "hype" stickers on the front. I figured I'd replace my existing copy with it, until I discovered that the two versions were not quite the same (and not even packaged exactly the same), and that one has additional tracks (as the sticker on the front promotes - dummy!). Then, while looking where to post scans of these two versions, I see that neither are the same as the one at the start of the thread. I was originally going to start a new thread called "Tales of two SACD's", but it looks like there were three versions of the digi-pack, plus the Super Jewel case version that Fredblue pointed out in another thread, and the DVD-A version. How many ways can you release it? (I think Deep Purple Machine Head in surround may still hold the record).