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Article: The Definitive Sgt. Pepper's In High Resolution

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Seeing that the three reviews on Qobuz all expressed disappointment about the DR of the hires version being the same as for the Redbook version, I decided to get the latter. As in - I bought the CD and ripped it.

 

My impressions are that I don’t know quite what to think about the result. While I enjoy the proper stereo, I think the voices are a little drowned out by the instruments, which have become almost too full and modern sounding. Also, I think that particularly the voices sound more edgy/less natural and organic than on the 24 bit remaster from 2009. While I haven’t analyzed the DR of the 2009 24 bit remaster, it looks noticeably less loud and more dynamic than the 2017 remaster in Roon’s visualization of the tracks.

 

I haven’t regretted buying the 2017 remaster but that is mostly because of the Disc 2 with a treasure trove of alternative takes and instrumental versions and a lot of chatter from the recording sessions. Really fun. 


All best,

Jens

 

Custom-built W8-based server -> Audio Note DAC 4.1 Balanced Limited Edition -> Audio Note Kit One -> Audio Note E/Alnico SPX. Everything supplied from Exact Power EP15A

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Listen to it a few more times without comparing and I bet you will like it more. It is more volume compressed than the 2009 remaster.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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On 1/20/2018 at 5:12 PM, firedog said:

It is more volume compressed than the 2009 remaster.

Where people were already complaining about the slight volume compression they had done. I was not one of them, though. I think they struck a pretty good balance in that respect on the 2009 remaster. 

 

But I'll definitely give if some more listens. It's still interesting to hear details that couldn't be heard on the previous stereo versions. 


All best,

Jens

 

Custom-built W8-based server -> Audio Note DAC 4.1 Balanced Limited Edition -> Audio Note Kit One -> Audio Note E/Alnico SPX. Everything supplied from Exact Power EP15A

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On 1/8/2018 at 4:09 AM, firedog said:

 

If definitive means "best", then yes.

 

This one has the advantage that the remaining principals approved it. 
GM was quoted somewhere  saying that Paul and Ringo did ask for changes in some of the test mixes they received, so apparently their approval is something to be taken fairly seriously. 

 

I am so pleased with the HDTracks version, just as I enjoy other Hi-Res Audio files.

Wax nostalgic about the original version all you wish, but at that time my "stereo" was a Garrard turntable plugged into an Am-Fm table radio that had a line input.

Hardly Audiophile listening.

And I bet most 10-year-olds were not enjoying it on any better gear unless their father was an Audiophile, and the children were not allowed near "His System"

 

Therefore, at the age of 60, and hearing the best of the Brit bands, performing their creative efforts, as they intended, on equipment that wasn't even envisioned at that time-- I am glad.

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Long time listeners of this album may have a hard time loving this somewhat sunny remix.  The much lauded original and its multiple reissues had and retained a reflective and moody essence, which I'm sad to say has been wiped away in this "definitive" remix.  Smooth, creamy harmonies have replaced what were frequently a bit buried vocals, which even if unintentional at the time, contributed to the record's mysteriousness. You had to listen closely to hear what was sung, and that drew you in. That's gone now. It's all bright and shiny and effortless to listen to. This Pepper has more in common sonically with Abbey Road or even Love, than it does with Revolver. Listeners more open to a fresh sound will find a huge, wide open sound stage,  cleaner sound effects, and a few uncovered artifacts (the reprise has quite a bit you never heard before). Its all a bit airbrushed, rather like listening to Rumours, or Songs in the Key of Life. Like the renovation of the Sistine Chapel, I don't think anyone asked for it but we got it anyway, and surprise, surprise. This Pepper is gorgeous, if that's what you want. 

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I wouldn't call it "sunny", I'd call it "clear". 

I saw one review where the reviewer said Paul McCartney's voice in "She's Leaving Home" had become angry or agressive or something like that in the remix. I don't hear that at all. 

 

If someone likes the original mix that's fine; but I don't understand how hearing more of the detail and what's on the master tapes is a bad thing. The music and performance should be what draws you in, not the murkiness of the version. 

 

That said, I would have preferred it if there was a  high-res version with a bit less volume compression. I think that would have given us the best of both worlds. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I think it's more that the reissue sounds too modern and not like a 1967 album. Compression is probably a big part of it, but I'm not sure it's the whole story, although I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. I don't have the mastering vocabulary for it. 


All best,

Jens

 

Custom-built W8-based server -> Audio Note DAC 4.1 Balanced Limited Edition -> Audio Note Kit One -> Audio Note E/Alnico SPX. Everything supplied from Exact Power EP15A

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On 1/30/2018 at 1:30 AM, firedog said:

I wouldn't call it "sunny", I'd call it "clear". 

I saw one review where the reviewer said Paul McCartney's voice in "She's Leaving Home" had become angry or agressive or something like that in the remix. I don't hear that at all. 

 

If someone likes the original mix that's fine; but I don't understand how hearing more of the detail and what's on the master tapes is a bad thing. The music and performance should be what draws you in, not the murkiness of the version. 

 

That said, I would have preferred it if there was a  high-res version with a bit less volume compression. I think that would have given us the best of both worlds. 

 

Do we know if the vinyl version as compressed as the CD and high-res?

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Wow.  Just wow.

I love it.  To me the only thing lost in the new release is the documentation of the recording constraints of the era.  I can’t imagine those recording/mixing compromises made in 1967 were part of the Beatles’ artistic intention.

All I hear is goodness.


Peachtree Audio DAC-iT, Dynaco Stereo 70 Amp w/ Curcio triode cascode conversion, MCM Systems .7 Monitors

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On ‎2‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 10:04 PM, fritzg said:

 

Do we know if the vinyl version as compressed as the CD and high-res?

 

I would expect the vinyl to be MORE compressed, as that is how they deal with dynamics.


Current:  JRiver 24 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an I5-2500K with 16 GB RAM

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I just got the vinyl edition today, and I can safely say that it is waaaayyyy better than the CD version. The CD version of the reissue sounds too modern and not like a 1967 album. On vinyl it sounds like a 1967 album, only better than the original (at least the original stereo).

 

I simply couldn't stand listening to the CD reissue. It sounded too brutal somehow. 


All best,

Jens

 

Custom-built W8-based server -> Audio Note DAC 4.1 Balanced Limited Edition -> Audio Note Kit One -> Audio Note E/Alnico SPX. Everything supplied from Exact Power EP15A

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"customer" wants it loud - gets it loud.

i don't doubt the time, effort and respect in this remix. "i think the beatles would have wanted massive compression effects had they been available in 1967". it sounds as if you are standing too close too the speakers.

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I'm a big fan of the HDTracks release of this. They include work tracks that were components of the final track assembly. Back in the day, doing these kinds of albums was like putting together a complex aural puzzle, four tracks at a time. George Martin and the technical team at EMI were pioneers in this area.

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In reason 9 of your list of why this new remix is the best and definitive available, you refer to "George's bass." Why? It's McCartney. That is, at least, according to the notes Mark Lewisohn referred to in writing his famous document of their recording sessions in 1988. (The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions in the UK, and The Beatles: Recording Sessions in the USA)

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