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Reviews: Fleetwood Mac: Rumours

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Reviews: 9

Review by sonnysin168 September 22, 2011 (20 of 22 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
After a slight delay, I received this sacd last Monday, this time from cdjapan. I began my evaluation utilizing the stereo layer and compared it to the dvda stereo mix. The sacd's mids are warmer and a bit laid back compared to the dvda. This is fairly evident on Silver Springs where Stevie's voice is "smoothened". I say this because IMO, as I am accustomed to hearing her over the years, her voice has that little "edginess" which I felt contributes to her charm and makes her style distinct. This observation also jibes with Christine McVie's vocal performance on Songbird. S-m-o-o-t-h! Percussion-wise the sacd is a bit laid back too. I mean you can hear the cymbals, bells and chimes. And drumsticks hitting the metal edges too but not as clearly as in the dvda. But the sacd's bass is big, really big and have more slam than the dvda. IMO I felt that Go Your Own Way should have a bit more bass in the dvda version and this had been "cured" in the Warner sacd.

Many knowledgeable people believe that this sacd and the dvda were sourced from the same masters. So they should sound the same? I say no, they sound different. As in my observation regarding the Hotel California sacd, I'm also wondering if this version's bigger bass "veiled" the finer details or somehow Warner "tweaked" it that way (if it's true that the sacd and the dvda came from the same masters)?

Multichannel-wise, the sacd's percussions are clearer as compared to the stereo version, but still a bit laid back compared to the dvda. The same's true with the vocals. May I add that this layer was also treated with huge bass. Maybe this perception can be attributed to hearing the album using 5 separate and distinct channels, as opposed to listening to it in stereo. BTW I particularly like The Chain in sacd multichannel than stereo.

I am torn between the two versions, as far as choosing which is better overall. Which is better: warmth + bigger bass(sacd) or clarity + detail (dvda)? I have the dvda for several years to date, am very familiar it and have grown accustomed to its sound. I'm trying to set aside personal bias but if forced to choose one, the dvda holds a slight edge.

If you don't have a copy of the dvda or the Japan sacd and wants to have one, either of the two will satisfy you and they are both way above better than the rbcd version. The only question then is: will you buy the relatively expensive version (Japan sacd) or the lot more expensive and out-of-print dvda?

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Review by Discspinner October 15, 2011 (3 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I have never owned a previous version of the either in vinyl, CD, or anything. Where have I been? This is a classic, in every sense of the pop term, album. Just about every song is a hit or has otherwise received heavy airplay.

The sonics in stereo are pretty astounding. Smooth, yet full of life, there is no noise or hiss, but it still doesn't sound as if it has been noise-reduced to the point where the music has been drained of excitement or spectral range. Vocals are distinct and natural. Instrumentation is detailed and uncluttered. Percussion is well defined, yet there is no boom on the low end. There is a little brashness occasionally on cymbal crashes, but this is hardly noticeable. The bass is supportive and controlled (whereas some mixes seem determined to amplify the bass as if it was the most important solo instrument ever).

In summary: buy it.

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Review by dikkie13 March 11, 2012 (3 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Poor audio quality. the original first release on CD sounds better and has a higher DR level. Don't waste your money on it.

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Review by jackan November 11, 2012 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
There is so much to love about this SA-CD.
The performance, songwriting, and original tracks are so wonderful.
As mentioned, so many that we have heard over the years on the radio.

I really like the 5.1 mix. So many layers that have previously been smudged into two tracks, now have room to breath, and the distinction in all the guitar parts, for example, is a whole new world. Percussion and keys benefit from this as well. The bass is a bit overbearing, but very solid, not tubby or boomy. A minor distraction.

But this whole re-release breaks down in the fact that the lead vocals are mixed way quieter than the original. There are some tracks where it is arguable that there is too much effects added to the voice, but this is a weak quibble, as it is largely as intended on the original production, but the fact that the lead vocals are so noticeably quieter than the original will disappoint to the point of distraction. It is impossible to know if this is a political move, one deemed from up high, or just laziness, having heard it so many times and being so familiar with the words, that Ken Callat simply did not give the vocals the attention they deserved, and instead focused on the mutli channel mix, and making sure the bass did not suffer, as in the previous incarnation on DVD. (Mentioned in another review.) What is odd is that all of the backing vocal tracks are as they should be. Volume wise they do not suffer the same lack of respect that the lead vocals do. And since the lead vocal is the single most important piece of the mix, it is so puzzling that such substandard production could make it to fruition.

The longer I listened to this disc, the more frustrated I became.
Especially because there was so many other positives, but in the end, only disappointment.

Update, since last night I have turned up the volume on the center channel. Considerably.
The mix is now much better. Still not completely satisfactory to my taste, but much better.
I am thinking it odd that I would have to do so much compensation, and have not been missing it before now, but my 5.1 is months old, not years. I do like having the vocals more in the center than the other speakers, but need more to go on to see if I like this mix enough to up the rating. As it seems silly to have to change the speaker balance to listen to one disc. Also, this center volume is now higher than a set up level test recommends. OK, I have now upped the rating for the MC sonics. (And perhaps sonics is not the right word as it is the mix, not the sound quality that I have a problem with.)

Update, last night I again turned up the volume on the center channel, yet again. Now I am getting somewhere. I am still bewildered that I have to go to this extreme. But the mix is getting much better. In fact I like the interactive nature of me being able to get the vocals where I want/need them. Mrs. Jackan and I were dancing to this disc. So many wonderful songs. Again, the 5.1 is amazing on this album. So many intriguing parts that are mixed so deep in stereo, that compliment what is going on, and add so much to a wonderful collection of songs. Getting to hear them anew is a fun thing. (I absolutely will not go any higher than this on my rating.)

Also, the last track has much more tape hiss than the other numbers. It also has a lot of mic rumble. This has the odd effect of being distracting and compelling at the same time.

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Review by p59teitel November 24, 2012 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
No need to rhapsodize about the music itself, which runs neck and neck with Hotel California as perhaps the best popular rock album of the mid-70s.

The SACD provides an excellent stereo layer that is highly detailed and articulate, with a great soundstage. Instruments are very well presented, with realistic drum hits and cymbal flourishes, solid but not domineering bass, crisp and clean acoustic guitar and - when appropriate - biting electric guitar. Oh yeah, the piano sounds like a piano too.

Vocals are presented very well overall. Harmonies in particular are presented with deeper detail than in prior versions. Flow, speed and timing of the original recording come through well. The acoustic is quite dark and quiet, but with just enough air to not sound sterile.

My only gripe is occasionally slightly hot vocals during the most raucous Buckingham-Nicks harmonies. Notwithstanding that, this is easily the best digital version around. Strongly recommended.

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Review by tdunster December 1, 2012 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I'll make one thing clear from the start - I am not a Fleetwood Mac fan - at least not the lineup that made this album.

Oddly enough though I do own the DVD-A version, an original CD version, and now the SACD version .

The SACD version is hands down the best available and while not a massive improvement over the DVD-A and original CD it is indeed a worthwhile upgrade.

Where the DVD-A can at times sound overly bright the sacd version presents a more balanced sound signature.
The SACD still has the dynamics of the DVD-A and yet manages to avoid the overly enthusiastic treble that the DVD-A can sometimes emit.

Definetly worth buying but a superior version being released sometime in the future will not suprise me.

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Review by Ricoflashback August 24, 2013 (6 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Classic album with horrific vocal mix. I mean, the Engineers should have to spend jail time for this effort. They managed to trash one of the best selling albums/CD's of all time.

The vocals via the center channel (and I have a fabulous Paradigm CC690 Center) are hollow sounding with many echos. If you can get past the thin and shoddy vocal mix, Fleetwood Mac affcionados will certainly want to add this SACD to their collection.

But beware - - fine vocal performances were butchered, big time, in this SACD.

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Review by Marc - SoundMatters July 10, 2014 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is a review of the 5.1 channel layer of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours SACD. Equipment used for this review included PSB Synchrony One speakers (7 speakers, no subwoofer), a Denon 7.1 channel receiver, and an Oppo BDP-105 disc player. Comparison was made to the DVD-audio multichannel version and the CD stereo version.

I concur with other reviewers who have expressed disappointment with the vocals on this SACD's multichannel layer (I have not listened to the stereo layer). Compared to the DVD-audio disc of this album, the vocals on the SACD sound overly-smoothed-out. Stevie Nick's vocal performance suffers the most in this version's mix, as her famous (infamous?) edginess is missing-in-action.

Perhaps the most important statement to make here is that when I want to hear Rumours, I always reach for the DVD-audio disc. I never play the SACD of this album, anymore.

However, the SACD version does seem to have better bass, compared to the DVD-audio version.

For those who do not own the DVD-audio version of Rumours (and who are unwilling to pay the hefty price of that out-of-print version, if even available), I would recommend the SACD, as it is certainly far better than the CD version.

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Review by Marpow June 5, 2015 (3 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours Hybrid SACD Stereo/Multichannel

Oh brother, this is a hard review for me, but I will give it my best shot. There are 8 good, solid reviews in front of me with everybody giving good notes and trying there best.

Quick Facts: Released 1977 and multi bazillion selling, you know that. Album of the year 1978. Bet you didn't know that they recorded at The Record Plant, Sausalito, 1 hour from my house. I saw Fleetwood Mac with this lineup one month ago, pretty awesome.

Performance: Great, perfect, whatever adjective you want to throw in is cool with me.

Stereo Sonics: I listened at 70 decibels, 88.2Khz, PCM via HDMI. HDTracks issue is better. I did do comparison. Bass is very tight on one track and too boomy on another. The vocals that others talk about sound pretty good in stereo, a little gritty as you would like Stevie Nicks to sound. The stereo has a bunch of parts that sound great, Fleetwood's drums and cymbals always sound good, you can hear the sticks hit very good. Room filling sound, wide sound stage. I believe that people without multichannel capability would be pretty happy with this stereo release. But for the money I would go HDTracks.

Multichannel Sonics: I listened a little lower at 65 decibles. Sound can be a little bright at times which bugged my ears. Bass is not an issue with me or other reviewers. So the first question is always the remix, did they do a good job putting all the instruments and vocals in appropriate places. Yes, they did. The sonic quality's are rich and even, well balanced. Some times that great hi hat sound that is good in stereo can be irritating in mch, like a metronome, that as a listener is not needed. I would have equalized it down. Another thing I don't like is every track is mixed different than the other, albeit good, but as a listener it throws me off. Sometimes, like in Don't Stop, the vocals just drop out, and I was wishing it was a instrumental track. I can go on and on but I won't. I am disappointed.

Packaging: Plastic jewel case. Mini 4 page paper booklet with original credits and lyrics. Japanese paper booklet with 2011 Japanese liner notes.

I Wish: That I had a DVD~A to compare this hybrid SACD to. I wish I would have spent $12.00 more and bought the used DVD~A instead. I have never been dissapointed by DVD~A's. But my friend Ralph says that both versions come from the same Warner master tape. If you read the reviews in front of me and take them all together it can be a toss up on sonic quality, better on this, better on that.
I am using less stars in mch as I am dissapointed and the reason is, I had very high expectations for such an iconic disc. So yes, I am being hard where as others might not be.

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