To buy or no to buy: albums with average/below average ratings and negative comments in the polls

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fcormier

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I sometimes wonder if I'm overly influenced by the ratings and comments I see in the polls or if it's justified. I've passed on several albums I like in stereo because the ratings and comments in the polls were so-so. Several titles are now out of print and I sometimes see some popup at a "reasonable" price, although higher than the original retail price and I wonder: is it better to have an OK surround mix of an album I like or should I pass and not waste my money?

Recently, I've seen Moving Picture and A Farewell To Kings (2011 mix) from Rush at around 40$CDN (equivalent to 30$USD for most people here) and I wonder if it's worth it? I was a huge Rush fan when I was younger, not as much now but still like their music.

Others I've passed and wonder if I should have got: ELP's Jakko Jakszyk mixes, A Trick Of The Tail by Genesis, Freehand by Gentle Giant...

As a reference, a bad surround mix for me is Snake & Arrows by Rush

Thanks!
 

efb18

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It’s not without its flaws but I love the Trick of the Tail mix.

I don’t know the others—the 5.1s, anyway.
 

Plan9

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You were right to wait on Freehand, it has been remixed in Atmos and 5.1 by Steven Wilson in the last few months and will be released this year hopefully.
I tried to push for the inclusion of a corrected Quad mix on the upcoming reissue, but I don't know how that will go.

A Farewell to Kings has had a better surround mix done by Steven Wilson as well. The 40th anniversary of Moving Pictures is this year, I'd wait.

Jakko's ELP - Trilogy remix is excellent by my book, but I'm not a huge ELP fan like some here.

A Trick Of The Tail will probably never have another surround mix done...
 

sjcorne

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ELP's Jakko Jakszyk mixes
These are worth seeking out if you like the material, though they go for stupid money nowadays. Jakko's mix of Brain Salad Surgery has more dynamic range and wider channel separation than the old Paul Klingberg/John Kellogg 5.1, but there are definitely some instrument balance problems (most notably the overloud bass guitar in "Karn Evil 9 Third Impression").
 

stormchaser

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Yeah, I'll defend the Trick of the Tail mix as well, it isn't horrible. As I recall, the problems had more to do with overall loudness and compression.
 

Clint Eastwood

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If you are using the polls as your reference point..a few things to take in consideration...if a title has some negative scores you need to dig a little deeper and find out what were the problems that caused the lower scores...most credible posters will give an explanation when their score is well below the norm...sometimes these "problems" won't be a problem for you...and the other fact is that there are posters that seem to be below the norm a lot of times and don't give any explanation...I call these the "drive by" posters...you never get any explanation and you don't see them posting on threads..

There is another thing to consider...although some of these titles underwhelm us and disappoint(Jakko)...it might very well be the best sounding version of that title...even with all the warts..

IMO...when you start making your purchasing decisions based ONLY on the cost of the title...you are making a mistake in the long run...you will end up with a bunch of titles collecting dust on your shelf...I was a late adopter in the hobby so I had choices to make to start my collection...I got some good advice from someone on here..."buy what you like whatever the cost"...quality over quantity...don't try to just add titles that are inexpensive to boost your collection...
 
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jimfisheye

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Surround sound mixes are a bit of a strange animal sometimes. They are especially treated as novelty items often enough with the mix quality apparently not even being considered important. And in defense of some of the odd ones, apparently surround is still considered experimental or novelty enough that perhaps some of these examples are simply very poor work?

Whatever the cause there, the scenario where an album with an accomplished stereo mix gets remixed in surround but crudely is not very welcome! In much the same way that a volume war mastered CD is not welcome for an album with earlier much higher fidelity releases.

If you're collecting anything and everything to do with a favorite album, that might not matter to your decision to pick up the surround edition. Just like the vinyl picture disc or colored vinyl edition that doesn't sound as good as it should and is more a novelty release.

Anyway, telltale comments around if the surround mix is even serious are really welcome to me.
 

musicmemorabiliashoppellc

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These are worth seeking out if you like the material, though they go for stupid money nowadays. Jakko's mix of Brain Salad Surgery has more dynamic range and wider channel separation than the old Paul Klingberg/John Kellogg 5.1, but there are definitely some instrument balance problems (most notably the overloud bass guitar in "Karn Evil 9 Third Impression").
Was the Jakko BSS remix ever available in a smaller form than the SDE? If so which one is it, I might have it. Thanks in advance :)
 

sjcorne

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musicmemorabiliashoppellc

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Old Quad Guy

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The Polls can give one a general idea about what a surround mix is, if one is on the fence about buying an expensive box set just for the surround mix. If one is just buying a title that costs under $25, it’s not too much to worry about if you like the music. After all, you get a Hi-Rez stereo mix.

Whether to buy a tittle or not, sometimes it seems like buying stocks. One doesn’t know when or how much a title will be worth when it goes OOP. Looking for inexpensive surround titles is part of the fun, and I listen to music I didn’t appreciate so much before. If you wait, you can find a title cheaper in the long run if it’s OOP.

I highly recommend that folks support Rhino’s Doobie Brothers box set and any of the Dutton Vocalion Quadraphonic reissues.This is where I put my money down first.


 

fthesoundguy

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I sometimes wonder if I'm overly influenced by the ratings and comments I see in the polls or if it's justified. I've passed on several albums I like in stereo because the ratings and comments in the polls were so-so. Several titles are now out of print and I sometimes see some popup at a "reasonable" price, although higher than the original retail price and I wonder: is it better to have an OK surround mix of an album I like or should I pass and not waste my money?

Recently, I've seen Moving Picture and A Farewell To Kings (2011 mix) from Rush at around 40$CDN (equivalent to 30$USD for most people here) and I wonder if it's worth it? I was a huge Rush fan when I was younger, not as much now but still like their music.

Thanks
I would wait on Moving Pictures as well if you are just interested in the surround mix. I was really disappointed in how the 5.1 ended up being, but the high-res stereo versions on those BD-A/DVD-A are really well done. Is that worth $40 to you? I don't know if the 2011 AFtK is good, but the 2017 SW remix is worth every penny that box set goes for. Its my favorite 5.1 mix of all time and is just downright brilliant. I would use that $40 and wait until the 2017 box set goes on sale and get that.

I also have been burned on a couple of overall good polls here. I still regret buying The Who's Quadrophenia, which got mostly good reviews from people here. It's exceptional garbage to me but there were a couple of people who voiced their displeasure. I wish I would have listened to them a bit more closely. So, if ANYONE has a reasonable and informative bad review about an album, I take that seriously and decide if its worth my hard earned money.
 

musicmemorabiliashoppellc

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I would wait on Moving Pictures as well if you are just interested in the surround mix. I was really disappointed in how the 5.1 ended up being, but the high-res stereo versions on those BD-A/DVD-A are really well done. Is that worth $40 to you? I don't know if the 2011 AFtK is good, but the 2017 SW remix is worth every penny that box set goes for. Its my favorite 5.1 mix of all time and is just downright brilliant. I would use that $40 and wait until the 2017 box set goes on sale and get that.

I also have been burned on a couple of overall good polls here. I still regret buying The Who's Quadrophenia, which got mostly good reviews from people here. It's exceptional garbage to me but there were a couple of people who voiced their displeasure. I wish I would have listened to them a bit more closely. So, if ANYONE has a reasonable and informative bad review about an album, I take that seriously and decide if its worth my hard earned money.
AFTK is currently on sale at IMPORTCDS.com for $110 US ....probably the best price ever if not close to it
 

ar surround

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...although higher than the original retail price and I wonder: is it better to have an OK surround mix of an album I like or should I pass and not waste my money?...
Like @Clint Eastwood said, if you like an album with a ho hum 5.1 mix it may be worth it anyway because of superior fidelity. As far as acquiring titles just because you can get them cheaply, I've done that often and have surprisingly discovered that I like quite a few cuts if not whole albums.. Many times, hearing material in hi-res surround sound changes earlier perceptions that I may have had...And to me, 12 Quid for a Dutton Vocalion two-fer is virtually foolproof even if I'm lukewarm or unfamiliar with the material. On the flip side, I would not go for big money box sets that are not from a favorite act even if every rating was a 9 or a 10.
 

ubertrout

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I've often purchased albums with mediocre scores in the polls; it sort of depends on the album. Moving Pictures is actually a good example - I enjoy the surround mix and I'm glad I got it. That doesn't mean no-one could do a better one, but at the price and for the quality of the music it was an easy choice to pick it up. I think the album has a lot of fervent and very particular fans who had higher expectations, which is also fair, but take them in context.

There's also some albums (some of the Silverline specials for instance - although their catalog was more uneven than bad) where the surround mix is a legitimate disaster. And I'd avoid getting those. But it's just like Yelp or Amazon - it's not enough to look at the number, you need to look at the conversation surrounding it.

Just for example, I really like ethnic Chinese food, and the best places (at least in the USA) typically have bad service and aren't spotless. If I see a place with three stars but it's mostly a mix of raves for the food and one-stars for cleanliness ands service (or even better, one-stars saying the food is too spicy or salty), I know to go.
 

splinter7

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The 40th anniversary of Moving Pictures is this year, I'd wait..
Released on February 12, 1981 - Would have been the perfect announcement date to get some press on an anniversary edition. Somehow I don't think we will be seeing anything new.
 

fcormier

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Thanks for all your replies. I choose the title based on what I like to listen to. I've bought some titles from bands I didn't know (having listened to some songs before), some hooked me (Anathema, The Pineapple Thief), some not (Riverside, Tesseract). Money still comes before a good mix. I've reached my limit a couple of time (50$CDN for a single disc, 70$CDN for a boxset), higher than that is not worth it even if it's amazing.

The case for A Farewell To Kings has been sealed: it's a no-go for the 2011 mix, thanks to @edisonbaggins's review on YouTube. I heard the sound and it's just horrible. It's not worth an 8,0 in the polls and I have some other albums with similar rating that sound good to my ear. And the 2017 mix is way too expensive for me.
 

fcormier

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I managed to get Moving Pictures (DVD-A) and A Trick Of The Tail (DVD) for 33$CAD each new (A Trick of The Tail has a cut-out though). The surround mixes are OK, but the sound itself is so-so:
  • high frequencies sound bad for Moving Pictures, like for other Richard Chicky Rush mixes
  • the sound is too bright for A Trick Of The Tail
I'm still glad I got them for the price I got them though because these are albums I really like.
 
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