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Reviews: The Who: Who's Next

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Reviews: 12

Review by analogue August 31, 2010 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I was very excited with the news that my all time favourite rock album would be released on sacd. I was less happy upon learning that Jon Astley would be doing the dsd transfer. Nothing personal to Mr. Astley but sometimes he does things that hurt the actual sound although the 2003 cd was very good to my ears.

When a person is paying hard earned dollars to keep a format alive I dont think its asking to much to have a great sounding product. Especially in this economy.

I own this album on two vinyl versions and 3 cd incrnations so I might have a definite feeling for how I believe it should sound. This album has gotten better and better to me through the years. And I tend to be very protective to my belief on its sonics merits. Any tinkering would get me miffed.

When I first heard this sacd I was not impressed. It was very flat and dull sounding....almost boring. It did not seem compressed and that was a good thing. I could also detect that this was a brand new transfer from the original tapes as specified. But as with the Aja sacd I had to play it many times before whatever was actually on the disc would come out and reveal its quality. This album in particualr has always revealed how improvisational and spontaneous the recording sessions were. There is a lot of life to these sessions. But would this sacd have those qualities??

As time went on, after multiple playings things got better. This disc is sure dynamic and powerful. All the instruments and the voices are very real.

But there seemed to be something amiss. I detected a congestion to the music that I believe is the result of noise reduction. I noticed no real tape hiss. When tape hiss is removed musical information is also removed with it. Crucial things like reverb and echo. Also the decaying of sounds....things that make music very real. I felt those things were missing.

If this reduction was not done then it is my player to blame. Its possible that the hardware is the problem. I would rather the latter to be the truth.

I remember there being more air and decays to Moon's cymbals and more echoes from the voices. I could always hear the synth's dying out to nothingness but not here. The music bloomed more than I hear on this sacd. The mix seems pushed back and truncated and I dont like this.

Having said that there is also a realism that is pretty amazing. There is a substance to Daltrey's voice I never felt before. Entwhistles bass can be overwhelming at times. Piano and acoustic guitar is likewise believable. The beginning of Wont get fooled again is stunning.almost shocking. The synth is almost alive. Also this sacd is warm sounding which is nice to behold. Moons kick drum is very powerful and his drums feel more real and have better presence too....aside from the cymbals which seem tamed. The sound of this disc tends to get better the louder it is played which is also a bonus.

I dont think I can add anything else save to say that I hope I am wrong as to the noise reduction being done. Then I could tell Mr. Astley what a good job he did with this sacd. I would rather it be my player. The better the player the better the sound is usually the case.

All in all this release should please those that arent sticklers like me.

Recommended.

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Review by danfaz September 8, 2010 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Well, I finally got to listen to mine last night. Same great packaging as Aja.

First listen it sounded soft & flat (as was expected).

Second listen (yes, this could be just my imagination) things really openned up. Closed my eyes and was able to hear all the separation of instruments & vocals. The spacing seems to become more apparent after subsequent listens.

You do have to turn the volume up, but the cool thing is, there is no distortion with this SACD. No crackles no matter how loud I turn it up...just clean sound.

Overall, another great buy. I'm very happy with it!

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Review by JimiDiscs September 9, 2010 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I was going to write this review about a week ago. Before I did, I read danfanz review and realized that I was going to base my opinion on one listening, and a disappointing one, at that. These SHM discs do sound better with play, so I immediately put the disc in the player, hit the 'play' and 'repeat' buttons and came back a few hours later.
Let me start by saying that this is a self-contained 'greatest hits' album. Every song received constant radio play and everybody had a favorite track different than their friends. Like Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust', this is one to 'Play At Maximum Volume'.
From the original mass produced vinyl of the '70s to the gold cd treatment of the '90s, this album has always contained dynamic and dramatic sounds. Daltrey's vocal excursions, Entwistle's bass, Townsend twisting our minds with his new found electronics and, best of all for me, Mr. Moon cavorting his way through these very serious numbers in a way only he can. Throw in Nicky Hopkin's timely and well executed piano support, every musician is in fine form.
As for this particular release, it is superb. I usually overlook mentioning the excellent quality of the packaging. I appreciate that you get, in much smaller form and with additions, the original images and notes. The sound, once the disc is broken in, is the way I had hoped it would be.
Much clearer than any vinyl versions I have heard and more 'real' than any of the CD releases. The sounds of the instruments leave no doubt as to the mood they are going for in each track.
The sounds coming from Moon's drum kit have always amazed me, but the subtleties of the differences of intensity of the drum strokes just blows me away. Entwistle has always benefited from the CD format, his presence and contributions are only enhanced with the better balanced and more natural sound of this release. Vocals seem to be a surprising strong point in about every SHM-SACD I have heard and this is no exception. Daltry is in fine form, perhaps responding to Robert Plant, as he shows a range and strength that is consistent throughout. The stringed and electronic additions by Townsend seem to create the feel that this album, as a whole, is a master composer at his best. More than just by his playing, but by his imagination, he takes a driving force and moves it in the directions he wishes to take you.
The sound is dynamic, clear, and well balanced with good definition and 'air' around the sounds. There is a palpable presence that provides a great 'feel' for the entire effort.
Highly recommended on any and all levels.

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Review by trich727 October 14, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:
Certainly first I think we all need to thank the few labels that are putting out new SACD titles, despite the Japan giant Sony dropping the ball again. Who's Next is a WELCOME ADDITION TO MY SACD COLLECTION, and the best sounding recording of this masterpiece I have ever heard. Previous reviews have covered the sonics fairly well, so I'll only add that I didn't feel noise reduction was overly employed. Personally I think this SACD sounds great.

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Review by John December 11, 2010 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Of SACDs I have been mostly impressed with DSD recordings. I have reasonable expectations of analogue masters, so I didn't have great hopes for this.

I put this on, turned the volume up and was very impressed. Whatever anybody else says about compression or some other technical detail, heard or imagined, to my ears this is truly WONDERFUL; as close as I'm going to get to The Who playing my living room and a great addition to my library.

Now on to the other 9 SHM-SACDs that arrived at the same time ...

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Review by RKLA March 24, 2011 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Stereo only, as advertised. I now own 8 of the Universal Japan SHM-SA-CD's; my preference is for the ones newly DSD mastered in Tokyo. I expected a lot from this disc; I had been greatly surprised at how good the SA-CD of "Tommy" sounded - way beyond my expectations.

I am not listening on a high-end system. I have a Sony SA-CD player attached to the mixing board, stereo amplifier and speakers that I have used for many years now. I am familiar with how my stereo sounds. On my system, this disc sounded a bit 'flat'. As a previous reviewer noted, there isn't much 'hiss' on this disc - where did it go? I own several other LP / CD versions of this fine album, most of which have an 'acceptable for 1970/1' level of tape hiss present.

I doubt there is any fault to the manufacturing and replication of this SHM-SA-CD, though I did read of others who have found a possible manufacturing error on the Stevie Wonder 'SITKOL' disc. Perhaps the DAT (or U-Matic) they were sent sounded exactly the way this title now sounds on SHM-SA-CD.

So, I can conditionally recommend this edition of "Who's Next" - you will not hear a 'cleaner' version. As the world's only SA-CD of this title, it was a "gotta have it" purchase for me, even at it's current price tag. I just wish it had been DSD mastered in Tokyo, by an engineer who would've not been afraid of a little 'hiss'.

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Review by Eyolf December 11, 2011 (6 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Dreadfull, just dreadfull sound. The cd remaster is just so much better. This shm is so dark, muddy, flat, veiled, lacking clarity, etc that its hard to believe. I just can't believe that other reviewers think its good. I do wonder what hifi sets up they have? I can say that an Emm Labs dac and drive(which I have) really gives you goood sound. Do not buy this sacd unless you like the sound the opposite of what I have mentioned above.

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Review by Croc December 28, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
i agree - the mixing for half of the songs a bit strange: vocal is too laid back and not big enough.
but all in all sound aulity is very good.

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Review by tdunster November 30, 2012 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Apart from this version I own a 1995 Polydor Germany Redbook remix and the 2003 MCA deluxe edition.

On sound uality grouds alone the SACD version is the winner hands down. Tracks like getting in tune sound sweet and innocent. Whereas tracks like Won't get fooled again have plenty of bite and aggression.

The complete lack of compression could make the album sound a little flat and lifeless , perhaps even boring to some when compared to the common 1995 remix CD.

On the otherhand, all other versions sound crude and compressed to me now that I have the SACD version.

This one is a must have.

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Review by cordobaman February 11, 2013 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I LOVE this SACD. Other SHM releases did not thrill me. This one is a keeper. I had no idea there was acoustic guitar in every song! The clarity is phenomenal. The drums...you can hear the snap of the stick/hammer hitting the skins, the cymbals shimmer. The vocals are real. We all have heard these songs a million times growing up, so much do that my old redbook CD had not been played in years. This SHM-SACD however...I cannot get enough of it. WOW.

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Review by Sergey June 5, 2013
Performance:   Sonics:
After listening to this CD you know that this is the best option out of a possible record. There is no desire to listen to what that other option, just want to have this CD in your collection.

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Review by gellie August 23, 2013
Performance:   Sonics:
Quite possibly the best SACD I own. Unbelievable improvement over my original 80's CD. It almost feels like a very intimate performance. Feels like I'm in the recording studio. Highly recommended.

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