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  Warner Music (Japan) -
  Yes: Fragile

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Reviews: 4 show all

Review by rorschach2009 June 14, 2012 (10 of 18 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Rhino should be hanged by a dog's tail for releasing this SACD. Let me clear a few things first. This release is NOT A FRESH REMASTER from the original tapes. Rhino released a DVD-A in 2002 from freshly remastered analog tapes, and mind you -- those remasters were badly done. This SACD is based on those hi-res digital remasters (both stereo and surround) from 2002. All Rhino engineers have done is just pass those 2002 digital files thru the DSD filter. And what in the god's name were they expecting -- that SACD would turn out to be better than the DVD-A? Fools! No matter how much process anything, in the digital world, the end product will never improve upon the source. You just have to "create" a new digital source from the analog tapes.

So, basically there's no difference between the sonics of this release and the 2002 DVD-A. Same 2ch and multi-ch quality. The sound is loud, loud, and just loud, giving a pathetic dynamic range of 8 to such a superb album. The engineers have just thrown every possible audio track available into air without discretely assigning details.

The 1994 Joe Gastwirt remaster (Atlantic) has a dynamic range of 13, and by far, is the best sounding version of this album TO DATE. If you can locate a copy, congratulations to you. No SHM-CD, DVD, or SACD comes even close. You'd be better-off not dipping your hands into this release, or any Rhino/Warner SACD for that matter. They are all based on the previous digital remasters that the label issued in 2002-03 as DVD-As. This is really cheating the customers, and I protest. Universal has been, at least transparent with its SHM-SACD releases in that they are all fresh DSD transfers from original master tapes.

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Review by Epsilon September 5, 2011 (8 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Oh my! I had a chance to listen to this title 3 times today. What an orgy of sounds. I must tell you that I have absolutely no comparison of this SACD with other mediums like vinyl, DVD-A or RBCD as this has been the first time I heard the album in its entirety. I don't think I need to highlight the indisputable merits of the compositions and performances on this record since it is early prog rock at its best with exceptionally talented and technically perfect musicians. (You can especially judge that because along the 4 band songs, there are 5 'solo' tracks as well that all comprise the original album - plus there is the one bonus track called "America").

The sonics of this SACD are pristine both in the low and high frequencies (if you only listen to track 2, which is Wakeman's brief adaptation of a Brahms piece, you can experience all this in a flash: harpsichord, piano, electric piano, organ and bass synthesizer playing as an orchestra: wonderful, a feast for the ears).
As you may know, the bass guitar is given an emphasized role by the band, I know some people find it too high in the mix. Well, I'm not one of those people, I like bass sounds, especially if the bass line is so crafted. My only regret is that the bass guitar is mainly mixed into the central channel, which is a bit crammed for me with Anderson's lead vocals, some of the drum sounds plus the bass. (This is the only reason I deducted half a star for Mch sonics) Well, perhaps I must just adjust my speaker settings before playing this particular SACD in the future... Otherwise, nice surround mix, for example the various bass guitar sounds coming from all speakers in track 5 or the piano solo in "South Side of the Sky" playing first in the surround L/B speakers then right before the other instruments get a reprise, the piano moves to the front. And last but not least I can mention the all enveloping mellotron string sound in "Heart of the Sunrise" played alongside the wonderful bass line... All in all, excellent music, excellent sound (and surround mix) originally from 1971! This is a loud SACD but not in a bad sense, so just adjust the volume level for your taste.
I hope we will get Close to the Edge from Warner Japan soon!

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Review by Nicolas February 16, 2012 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I've got 5 issues from this album (the 86' cd, 94' remastered, 2001 hdcd, 2010 shm-cd and 2011 sacd)
Both SHM and SACD are great in different way.

The SHM for the clarity of the mix and the percusive sound of the Squire Rickenbacker, the SACD for the MCH mix and globaly a more soft and restful listening.

I can't tell which one is the best issue between both but I'm sure I'm not able to listen to the 3 olders issues anymore.

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