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Reviews: Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St.

Reviews: 6

Review by vonwegen December 23, 2011 (15 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Most of the other reviews that I've seen peg this SHM-SACD as "good", but after listening to it on my Sennheiser HD600 headphones, I think this is the definitive Stones hi-rez release. The clarity and stereo separation is breathtaking--every instrument suddenly sounds as clear as anything on a Steely Dan album, but without sacrificing any energy level. You can hear stuff you never heard before; for example, that Mick Taylor is playing bass using only a direct input box on "Tumbling Dice". Bill Plummer's stand-up acoustic bass suddenly sounds much cleaner and crisper on "Rip This Joint" & "Turd On The Run". Nicky Hopkins' piano sounds fabulous, especially on "Loving Cup" (and the steel drums at the song's coda are now much more evident). And Charlie Watts' drums really stand out--you can actually feel the 'thwack!' as he hits them.

There are too many highlights to list them all. Suffice it to say, even when I compared this to my needledrop of the original UK vinyl, the SACD is better--and old flaws like the master tape wrinkle in the first chorus of "Happy" are now gone. Yeah, "Just Wanna See His Face" sounds like a boombox tape with studio overdubs, but now Jimmy Miller's drums are much more lifelike.

I used to think Sticky Fingers was the showcase disc of this SHM-SACD series, but Exile is even better. Yeah, it is expensive. Treat yourself--you only live once! Go and grab it before it goes out of print!

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Review by trich727 January 6, 2012 (3 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Whoa! Hold off ordering this one based on 1 review! Wow, I am on my initial listen on a sub - par system, but I have learned over the years what to expect on my serious system, and this disc is far too bright. If anything, I had hoped it would have been "tamed" a bit from the most recent recent remasters, on SHM-SACD, but the first 2 tracks hurt my ears. I'm now on track 5 and it's still too bright.

I'll do a more conclusive review on my main system this weekend, but for right now, hold off buying this SACD. I did a quick A-B to the Anniversary Remaster, and the latest Anniversary cd remaster sounded better (although, not as much depth). I haven't compared it to my Virgin remaster yet. I'm now on track 8 again, and it still sounds too bright, and totaly lacking in warmth to me. I trust my sub - par system and my ears, and expect similar results on my main system. A real let down on a great album. Track 11, same..... Tom

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Review by Lucabeer May 29, 2012 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Definitely better than the Redbook releases, the difference is noticeable! Finally we can listen to this album with good presence, depth, clarity and frequency extension. Sure, it never was a particularly "hi-fi" recording (most takes were done in Richards' villa in France, not in a professional studio), and it has always sounded a bit "crowded", but believe me: this is the best it has ever sounded, by a long shot.

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Review by cooltype937 August 18, 2013 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Finally I have the definitive version of "Exile On Main St.". This is a very dense recording. It's packed with all kinds of ear candy which until the anniversary editon came across as somewhat mushy. The shm-sacd reveals all of the details with removing any of the mayhem. It needs to be played LOUD for maximum appreciation. If you love the Stones and this album you must treat yourself to this version.

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Review by scotty January 2, 2014 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Having been a Stones fanatic since I first heard Route 66 when I was five years old, I have spent a lot of time listening to their great music. Sticky Fingers has always been my favorite with Let It Bleed close by. I always considered Exile to be one of their best but not quite the album a lot of reviewers claim it to be. It had a sloppy sound to it, even on the previous Japanese copies I purchased. So I had to take the plunge after getting Quadrophenia and hearing how amazing that one was. Well, what an amazing surprise! Its not so much that it was a tad sloppy, but rather loose. So now I finally am hearing this the way it needed to be heard. The instrumentation is so crazy good, it is almost like hearing it for the first time. The horns of Bobby and Jim just add so much to the sound here and Mick's harp playing is incredible. And the guitar work from Richards/Taylor is scary good! I realize not full of hits, but Rocks Off is hands down one of their best songs ever. The album just flows together amazing here and just opens up and screams through your system. Another title that cry's to be cranked to its fullest potential!!!! An amazing job on this one, well worth every penny as others have said!

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Review by tdunster March 5, 2014 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
There is a lot of detail on this SACD and the dynamics are solid as well. However, it does tend towards the brittle side of the spectrum and may be just a tad too bright for my system.

My other digital version of Exile is the Cd Remaster by Virgin Records 839 5242 - 1996 - Australia. While the CD may be technically behind the SACD I find it a lot easier going when it comes to listening to the album.

It's not bad and I can understand why some people think this SACD is wonderful. But given how my system takes no prisoners when it comes to a forward sounding disc I would recommend that people with similar systems [see profile] be prepared for some in your face listening.

I don't think it's a case of the disc or transfer being at fault. I think it's more a case of the resolution of the media being so good that it's produced everything warts and all.

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