Traffic - Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Atmos (11/25/2022) - STREAMING ONLY

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sjcorne

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sjcorne

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This didn't blow me away like some of Steven Wilson's recent Atmos works (A-Ha, Grateful Dead), but I like what I've heard thus far - the side and rear channels seem to be used primarily for piano and various percussive elements (bongos, tambourine, handclaps, etc). Some of the tom rolls and sax blasts extend up into the front heights, which is interesting and sounds appropriately 'big'. The wide dynamic range is very much intact as well.

Does anyone else think the lead vocals are a bit too loud, especially during the title track?
 

privateuniverse

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This didn't blow me away like some of Steven Wilson's recent Atmos works (A-Ha, Grateful Dead), but I like what I've heard thus far - the side and rear channels seem to be used primarily for piano and various percussive elements (bongos, tambourine, handclaps, etc). Some of the tom rolls and sax blasts extend up into the front heights, which is interesting and sounds appropriately 'big'. The wide dynamic range is very much intact as well.

Does anyone else think the lead vocals are a bit too loud, especially during the title track?
Where did you find it? I don't see it on Apple Music.
 

AYanguas

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This didn't blow me away like some of Steven Wilson's recent Atmos works (A-Ha, Grateful Dead), but I like what I've heard thus far - the side and rear channels seem to be used primarily for piano and various percussive elements (bongos, tambourine, handclaps, etc). Some of the tom rolls and sax blasts extend up into the front heights, which is interesting and sounds appropriately 'big'. The wide dynamic range is very much intact as well.

Does anyone else think the lead vocals are a bit too loud, especially during the title track?

The mix fully uses the Wides. In my 9.1.4 I get a very nice immersion mix.

Regarding the lead vocals, in the first track "01 - Hidden Treasure" the vocals go both to the Fronts and the Wides. I get a very nice "stereo wide" voice. For me it is not too loud, but I guess it could depend on Atmos decoding with or without wides, or maybe just the preferences of each one.

The title track "02 - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" have the lead vocals only just in the Wides. That gives me even a better listening feeling. BTW, from where do you listen the lead vocals? Does your system decode it both to the fronts and the sides, if you don't have Wides?

Not yet fully listened. But It looks as one of the most welcome Atmos album for me in a while. Fully recommendable for Prog Rock fans.
 

privateuniverse

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11/26, 12:00 Noon CST - still no Atmos on Apple Music, Atmos on Tidal available on iOS but not Apple TV - what gives?

I am hoping that this is maybe just a byproduct of the holiday weekend. Apple normally puts up a new "featured artist" on Fridays, but it is still currently Joni Mitchell who was last week's featured artist. Hopefully on Monday when people get back into their offices, this will be rectified. Fingers crossed.
 

newslane

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Any recent Amazon Fire Stick should be your cheapest option for Tidal (not Apple Music, though). I think there were already some "Early Black Friday" markdowns on them a week or so ago; maybe there will be more?
Thanks again Professor! The Fire Stick was on sale, like you said, so for $24 I'm now streaming all the Tidal multichannel titles.
 

ted_b

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So..I am going to be a bit of an outlier here and say that the Apple Music Low Spark Atmos stream is ok but not great. I mean, it is great that these classic albums are getting the remix treatment for surround and immersion, and that this Traffic album is on the must-be-multichannel list if there ever was one. Maybe that is why I am underwhelmed. The 1971 recording sounds like it (unlike, say, American Beauty's remix) and comes across as somewhat compressed (compared to other streamed Atmos titles, of course) even for the era.

Also, the mix is so-so IMHO, with no real consistencies. Steve's voice is not always solidified in any air space (especially on the title track) and if that is the sound design I am not a fan. I like ethereal things to be ethereal (that's what the heights should be full of, ......or missiles flying overhead), but I like vocals to be an image or set of images. This doesn't mean they can't be mixed into the rear heights like on Brian Eno's new album, for example (not fair cuz there's fifty years of tech advantage to Eno). But in that example the vocals are occupying defined space, not nebulous. Again, to be an 8+ for me the mix needs to reflect the technology that was also used in the 1971 American Beauty Atmos mix that SW did. In that mix, etheral meets dynamic meets vocals in space, but a defined space.

Anyway, I'm probably being too harsh on this release but it just doesn't feel like the better Atmos mixes out there.....and that disappoints me. My $.02 Shoot me. :)
 

ted_b

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Ok, I gave it another full album serious listen this afternoon...and I'll back off a bit on the sonics; they are not bad at all, but still not the equal of other great 70s Atmos streamed albums. I still don't meld well with the Atmos mix but oh well. The separation does allow organs and pianos to breathe a bit more than its stereo counterpart. The top end is a bit uncontrolled, but much of that comes from the low bit rate. Not sure how much I'd like a BluRay, but bring it on nonetheless. :)
 
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